SETI Live to Crowdsource Search for Extraterrestrials

As part of the TED Prize Wish made by renowned astronomer Jill Tarter, the TED Prize today launches SETI Live (setilive.org): a site where – for the first time – the public can view data being collected by radio telescopes and collectively help search for intelligent life on other planets.

TED, the nonprofit dedicated to Ideas Worth Spreading, established the TED Prize in 2005, born out of a vision by the world’s leading entrepreneurs, innovators, and entertainers to turn ideas into action one Wish at a time.  SETI Live was created in collaboration with Zooniverse team at Chicago’s Adler Planetarium and is the latest development of Dr. Tarter’s 2009 TED Prize wish, “to empower Earthlings everywhere to become active participants in the ultimate search for cosmic company.”

The launch of SETI Live opens the door for anyone to help search for intelligent life on other planets.  For the first time ever, data being received by the Allen Telescope Array in Hat Creek, CA will be made public so citizen scientists can scan it for potential signals.

“Three years ago, Dr. Tarter stood on the TED stage and asked us all to unite in the search for life on other planets. The TED community responded by dreaming big and working hard – with many milestones to show for it,” said TED Prize Director Amy Novogratz. “This landmark step empowers people around the globe to meaningfully contribute to this important scientific endeavor and work towards answering the ultimate question, ‘are we alone?'”

Dr. Tarter, Director of the SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Institute’s Center for SETI Research, has devoted her career to hunting for signs of sentient beings elsewhere.  SETI Live will further her Wish and build upon the community of scientists and technologists already involved in the search.

“There are frequencies that our automated signal detection systems now ignore, because there are too many signals there.  Most are created by Earth’s communication and entertainment technologies, but buried within this noise, there may be a signal from a distant technology,” said Dr. Tarter.  “I’m hoping that an army of volunteers can help us deal with these crowded frequency bands that confuse our machines. By doing this in real-time, we will have an opportunity to follow up immediately on what our volunteers discover.”

Zooniverse is home to the internet’s largest and most successful citizen science projects, including Galaxy Zoo.  SETI Live is its newest venture.

“Over the last few years, we have learned about the incredible desire of hundreds of thousands of people to take part in scientific research as they’ve used Zooniverse to classify galaxies, explore the Moon and even to discover planets,” said Chris Lintott, Zooniverse Principal Investigator. “With SETIlive.org, we’re very excited to be inviting them on this grandest of adventures.”

On the heels of the launch of SETI Live, SCIENCE has partnered with TED and SETI by designing a call-to-action programming campaign, dedicating the month of March to answering this most indelible question, “Are We Alone?”  Four world premiere programs including Morgan Freeman’s Through the Wormhole, Alien Encounters and NASA’s Unexplained Files will premiere every Tuesday, beginningMarch 6 throughout the month.  Each special world premiere will drive viewers to the SETI Live site and empower citizen scientists everywhere to unite towards a common goal.

“Partnering with TED and the SETI Institute has been such a great initiative for SCIENCE.  With ARE WE ALONE? we want to draw viewers with smart, lean-forward programming and empower them to uncover evidence of extraterrestrial life,” said Debbie Adler Myers, General Manager and Executive Vice President at SCIENCE.  “At SCIENCE we question everything and no topic inspires more questions than the existence of extraterrestrial intelligence so we are proud to join the search.”

About the TED Prize
The first TED Prize was awarded in 2005, born out of the TED Conference and a vision by the world’s leading entrepreneurs, innovators, and entertainers to change the world – one Wish at a time.

The reward: $100,000, the TED Community’s array of talent and expertise, and the leadership of a TED Prize team led by Amy Novogratz. What began as an unparalleled experiment to leverage the resources of the TED Community to spur global change has evolved into one of the most prestigious prizes.

From Bono’s the ONE Campaign (’05 recipient) to Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution (’10 recipient) and JR’s Inside Out Project (’11 recipient), the TED Prize is helping to combat poverty, take on religious intolerance, improve global health, tackle child obesity, advance education, and inspire art around the world.

For more information on the TED Prize, visit www.tedprize.org.

About the SETI Institute
The mission of the SETI Institute is to explore, understand and explain the origin, nature and prevalence of life in the universe. It is a one-of-a-kind, world renowned science research institution where biologists, physicists, chemists, astronomers, ecologists, planetary scientists, geologists, engineers, technologists, and educators join forces in the quest to find life elsewhere. This includes the search for potentially inhabited planets and moons in our Solar System and beyond, laboratory and field investigations exploring the origins and early evolution of life, and studies of the potential of life to adapt to future challenges on Earth and in space. We believe we are bringing together some of the best and brightest minds in science today to unlock the mysteries of the cosmos.  Within the SETI Institute, Dr. Jill Tarterleads the Center for SETI Research as Bernard M. Oliver Chair for SETI and was a TED prize winner in 2009   The SETI Institute is a private, nonprofit organization.  SETI Institute website: http://www.seti.org

About Zooniverse
The Zooniverse began with a single project, Galaxy Zoo, which was launched in July 2007. The Zooniverse is now home to the internet’s largest, most popular and most successful citizen science projects. The Zooniverse and the suite of projects it contains is produced, maintained and developed by the Citizen Science Alliance. The member institutions of the CSA work with many academic and other partners around the world to produce projects that use the efforts and ability of volunteers to help scientists and researchers deal with the flood of data that confronts them.

About SCIENCE

SCIENCE, a division of Discovery Communications, Inc. (Nasdaq: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK), is home for the thought provocateur, the individual who is unafraid to ask the killer questions of “how” and “why not.”  The network is a playground for those with audacious intellects and features programming willing to go beyond imagination to explore the unknown.  Guided by curiosity, SCIENCE looks for innovation in mysterious new worlds as well as in its own backyard.  SCIENCE and the SCIENCE HD simulcast reach more than 68 million U.S. households.  The network also features high-traffic online and social media destinations, including ScienceChannel.com, facebook.com/Science Channel and twitter.com/Science Channel.

Source: TED

Web Site: http://www.tedprize.org

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