AAS Meeting #193 - Austin, Texas, January 1999
Session 58. The Astronomy Biology Connection II
Special, Oral, Thursday, January 7, 1999, 2:00-3:30pm, Room 6 (A and B)

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[58.02] The Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence

J. Tarter (SETI Inst.)

Aliens abound on the movie screens, but in reality we are still trying to find out if we share our universe with other sentient creatures. Intelligence is very difficult to define, and impossible to directly detect over interstellar distances. Therefore, SETI, the search for extraterrestrial intelligence, is actually an attempt to detect evidence of another distant technology. If we find such evidence, we will infer the

existence of intelligent technologists. For the past 36 years, the SETI

community has had a very pragmatic definition of intelligence - the ability to build radio telescopes! Radio signals are not the only possible way to detect a technology across the vast distances that separate the stars, but given our own current technological state, it remains the best way.

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