About the SETI program and Extraterrestrial life.

Essay by andrea4520University, Bachelor'sA+, May 2006

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"SETI-the Search for Extraterrestrials"

In the long adventure to find extraterrestrial intelligence, there has been many obstacles trying to get the signals the scientist need to prove ETI. SETI(The Search for extraterrestrial Intelligence) is a group of scientist searching the unknown for life. The main character in this search is Frank Drake. He conducted the first SETI search in the late twentieth century.

Drakes first search was located in Green Bank, West Virginia in the year 1960. He used a 85ft radio telescope to search for "interstellar radio signals." He found two stars that were like our sun, and new that planets would most likely be around sun like stars. This project was called project Ozma. No signals were found in this search, but they discovered there were natural radio waves emitted by hydrogen.(Jodrell Bank)

Frank Drake also developed the Drake equation. This equation is used to estimate the likeliness of intelligence life to exist.

The equation uses the following to get the number of potentially communicative civilizations in the galaxy. To find this out, they need to use the following factors: the rate of star formation, the fraction of those stars with planetary systems, the mean number of planets suitable for life per planetary system, the fraction of those planets suitable for life on which life has actually developed, the fraction of those planets with life on which intelligent organisms have evolved, the fraction of those intelligent species that have developed communicative civilizations and the mean lifetime of those civilizations.(Abell, 359)

There are also two different outlooks to this equation, those being optimistic and pessimistic. The outlook you have changes some of the factors that you need to solve the equation. According to the Drake equation the nearest galaxy could be anywhere from hundreds to tens of thousands...