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The Search for ET Signals

Date Wednesday - March 13, 2002
Host Art Bell

Dr. Seth Shostak, SETI astronomer, joined Art in hours 2-4 with news on the search for ETs and the SETI Institute. Art called him up live on the air – he wanted the audience to hear the Arecibo outgoing message machine. Seth mentioned that Jill Tarter – the woman who is the basis of the character in the film Contact – was sitting behind the control observing the telescope as Seth was on the air. The Pioneer 10 space probe is said to be slowing down and nobody knows why. Shostak believes it’s normal to slow down a bit, but its drastic slowness is a bit odd. If we were to find some type of obelisk on the moon, that would be evidence of ETs, but Shostak says we haven’t really been looking for these types of alien artifacts.

Art mentioned that Stanton Friedman has major issues with SETI – he said there is plenty of evidence of ET interaction on Earth already. Friedman asks why are we searching the distant heavens when the ETs are already here? However, Shostak finds evidence for this less than compelling. He does not know when we will hear something – with so many stars and parts of the sky to listen to, it’s nearly to predict when we'll hear an intelligent signal. The Allen Telescope Array was underway during this interview – Seth says it will consist of 350 antennas. What if eighty years goes by and we find nothing? Perhaps, if we learn we are the only life form, it would be just as mind blowing as finding life. But Seth is very convinced that if we don’t find anything, it probably means that we are using the wrong technology.

During the first hour, Art comments on news of the day, including Saddam, Bin Laden, Afghanistan, and a bizarre new medical procedure. Open Lines are also featured.

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