Alien hunter steps down from extraterrestrial search
Jill Tarter is stepping down from her post as leader of research at the SETI Institute.
May 25th, 2012
07:06 PM ET

Alien hunter steps down from extraterrestrial search

Remember the character Jodie Foster played in the movie "Contact," based on the book by Carl Sagan? She wasn't entirely invented; her character's basis was astronomer Jill Tarter.

Tarter, 68, has spent more than three decades leading the search for intelligent non-Earthly life at the SETI Institute, a nonprofit organization that devotes itself to scientific research, education and outreach on the subject of life in the universe.

This week, Tarter announced her retirement from directing the research side of SETI; she will now focus on fundraising, she told CNN Light Years in a recent interview.

Geek Out: Tarter's quest for citizen science

From the time she was about 8 years old, Tarter thought she wanted to be an engineer. She got an engineering degree at Cornell at a time when she was the only woman in a class of 300 engineering students. She also believed the curriculum needed a serious overhaul.

"If engineers were as boring as my professions, I was going to find some other interesting problems to do," she said.

She came across the problem of star formation, and then got interested in SETI after reading a 1971 NASA report called "Project Cyclops." It talked about how radio telescopes could be utilized for finding life on other worlds.

"I realized that I was alive in the very first generation of humans that could try and do an experiment to this old question, and we could stop asking the priests and philosophers what we should believe, and actually go and see what the answer is," she said.

Sagan's novel "Contact" is an accurate portrayal of how SETI works, including the funding and credibility problems the organization has had, Tarter says. But in that story, the main character finds a signal from outside Earth - that hasn't happened in real life (yet).

Tarter remembers reading the opening scene describing driving a Thunderbird convertible toward an observatory and hitting a rabbit, she thought, "Wait, wait this is too real! I've done that!"

Being a female scientist isn't always easy, and when Tarter was starting out, men didn't always take her and colleagues seriously. Tarter once took part in a conference of women scientists and engineers and talking to them about what had helped them succeed in a male-dominated world. They realized that many of their fathers had died when they were young. Tarter's own father passed away when she was 12.

"They were the center of our universe. They were what encouraged us, and we lost them. And in that very sad process, we learned a difficult lesson that most people, and in particular women, don't learn until later in life, and that's this whole carpe diem - seize the opportunity," she said.

Many of them had been cheerleaders or drum majorettes as well. They tended to be competitive, but there were no women's sports in which they could compete. Tarter herself had been a drum majorette in high school.

Today, things look better for women in Tarter's field than they did in those days - and not just because women can compete in athletics. There's a concerted effort in universities to recruit and retain female faculty. Every junior faculty member, especially women, needs a mentor, she said.

"Things are better, but women still do the bulk of family and child care," she said. "My younger astronomy colleagues, male and female, sort of expect to be sharing that load, but it’s not quite 50-50.”

Her husband, Jack, is also a radio-astronomer. They used to detect signals, and not from aliens: that they talked too much about their work at home. Tarter's daughter, at age 9, announced that she wanted to be a shopkeeper because your work ends at 5 p.m. and "you have another life at home" (she's now in her 40s and works at a wilderness medicine organization).

SETI is trying to expand its search and look into new technologies, Tarter says. As computing becomes more affordable, huge steps forward are possible. "It's all about doing our job better than we did yesterday," she said.

So, who are these aliens? Tarter disagrees with Sir Stephen Hawking's warning that aliens might one day invade to conquer or colonize us; Tarter believes intelligent beings from elsewhere would just want to explore. Movies such as "Men in Black III" and "Prometheus" should be seen as "metaphors for our own fears," not a foreshadowing of danger, Tarter said in a recent statement.

After all these years, how confident is Tarter that there is extraterrestrial life?

"I actually don’t know the answer to that question, and that’s why I’m searching ," she said.

soundoff (289 Responses)
  1. Newest Android Tablet

    Normally I don't learn article on blogs, however I would like to say that this write-up very forced me to check out and do it! Your writing style has been amazed me. Thank you, very nice article.

    August 22, 2012 at 2:44 am |
  2. Marvin the Martian

    Somebody stole my iludium pu-36 explosive space modulator!

    June 14, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
  3. 4commonsensenow

    Makes perfect commonsense to search for intelligent life outside the planet earth as there doesn't seem to be much around here other than the animals.The ego of man with his science has managed to screw up a perfectly good planet.But ofcourse it's justified as we are able to kill each other more efficiently and even able to construct our own replacement parts to keep our ego cups full of ignorance and remain blind to the obvious truth that we are all trapped here together and need to get along or suffer from our own actions.So, pursue nonsense to ignore reponsibilities of the mess we have all put ourselves into.

    June 10, 2012 at 12:32 am |
    • Mekhong Kurt

      4commonsensenow, I read your opening words and was encouraged: "Makes perfect commonsense to search for intelligent life outside the planet earth as . . .".

      Then you left all mention of SETI, or science at all, to rant forth a scathing condemnation of humanity and our record.

      Perhaps such condemnation is warranted. It would be nice were you to be civil enough to take it to an appropriate forum end either then return here to try to contribute to the conversation, or simply sit silently at you monitor screen and keyboard.

      Expecting more civility next time from you, I thank you in advance.

      June 11, 2012 at 9:23 am |
    • PersonForProgress

      Common Sense – there are quite a few people that would agree with you. And I'd say the vast majority of them do so on their computers (as you are) or occassionally from their iPhone while driving their cars. There are still a lot of caves and mountaintops to live on – lamenting the faults of human progress would be much less hypocritical if done from a place such as these. Everyone is free to believe what they like and you are certainly no exception – but I encourage you to think about that – be the change you want to see in the world. If you want the world to live a life of simplicity, set the example for it. Cheers

      June 13, 2012 at 6:41 pm |
  4. yeanette Jimenez

    Okay I just want to put down that in May 18 2012...we were on our way to California..from Arizona...Our 3 kids in the back seat, ages 14, 7, and 4...Our 7 year old decided video record something that caught her attention..she would tell me she was seeing something but I thought she was talking about an airplane...I did not know she had been recording all this time until she said "Look, here is what I see.." and I was like ohhh you recorded what you saw and she gave me her DS to first I could not see anything but after putting it in slow motion,,I could not believe what I was a UFO you can see 2 of them but one ends up lighting up after a couple of movements it does. All I know it is very clear and in the daytime....

    June 8, 2012 at 1:13 am |
  5. Amused

    I applaud Jill's career and her dedication to the search for ETI ! Although I have always supported SETI, I really feel that using radio waves to search for intelligent life is sort of like using a megaphone to search for fish in the ocean! I seriously doubt that a truly advanced civilization somewhere far away would be using or even monitoring such crude and inefficient signal sources as radio waves! We might as well be using smoke signals! I suspect that any truly advanced civilizations have likey found far more advanced and more efficient signal technologies than our very old fashioned and very inefficient radio signals! We probably would not be able to detect nor recognize such an advanced energy pulse as they would likely have developed by now! We are like little ants yelling as loud as we can, but will never be able to catch the attention of anyone other than more primitive little "ants" similar to us! I still believe in the quest for contact, but I strongly suspect that our knowledge of science and the universe has not progressed NEARLY far enough yet to produce whatever type of signal that a highly advanced civilization would detect and recognize! Many people assume that our "advanced scientific community" has already detected, discovered and learned most of the secrets of our universe and that we are just filling in the few holes still left in our overall knowledge of science! I DO NOT believe this as I think we still quite naive and primitive in our level of understanding! I truly think that we, as a civilization, have just barely scatched the surface of universal truth with our current level of knowledge and understanding of biology, science, physics and cosmology! In the grand scale of the cosmos, we are still no more than bewildered infants lost in the woods. Nevertheless, I still applaud and commend any and all who take up the task of searching and listening for ANY possible indication that we are not alone...

    June 6, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
    • endeavor43

      Your claims that our knowledge of the sciences and of communication technology is woefully outdated and inadequate can be taken seriously only if you can show some of the knowledge that we are missing. Certainly, as has always been the case, the sciences are continually adding new knowledge and searching for more, such as the theory in physics that would relate all of the forces. However unless you can demonstrate specifically some of what we are missing, I can only assume that you are merely "amused."

      June 6, 2012 at 6:34 pm |
    • Mekhong Kurt

      Amused, you wrote, in part, early in your comment, "I really feel that using radio waves to search for intelligent life is sort of like using a megaphone to search for fish in the ocean!"

      Amused myself by your appalling misunderstanding of just what it is SETI does, I didn't bother to read further.

      The folks at SETI EAVESDROP - not BROADCAST. Great balls of fire, Amused! You have it EXACTLY backward.

      If you were on your way to the OK Corral, Amused, you'd be darned sure you had a fine six-iron and plenty of high-quality bullets (I hope). So when you come here, "arm" yourself with some facts, please. Okay???

      Geez . . .

      June 11, 2012 at 9:32 am |
      • pmcbur33

        So you are going to the OK Corral to play golf? If you are going to demean some ones remarks how about you bring the correct kind of ammo.
        six shooter or six gun would have been acceptable, as well as hog leg or shooting iron. Not six iron

        June 11, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
  6. Jorge

    Dear Earthlings

    When Apollo 11 landed on the moon, a contingent of ET insularists flailed their appendages, clamored for harder immigration laws and cried out-"There goes the neighborhood." The rest of us, seeing them as a bit racist, liberally took the other road and welcomed you in absentia. In spite of this, we have seen how you refuse to learn the energy pulse alphabet, instead choosing to jam broadband frequencies with your unintelligible foreign chatter, and how you clutter the front yard of your immediate earthspace with derelict space cr@p, and we are concerned that this will affect our property values. Please don't take this the wrong way, we are not bigots, we have work for you in our hydroponic gardens and construction colonies as long as you can keep out of sight, we would just prefer that you not move into the rest of the Milky Way permanently. And please stay away from our daughters.

    June 6, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
    • RZ70

      You're no Roddenberry. Come on. I mean, where's the interest in the characters. Make me like the alien before you hold the mirror me and show me I'm looking at myself. maybe writing isn't for you. Have you considered mime school?

      June 8, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
  7. Krull Kling Noxon Moog

    Greetings earthling. Sorry we are hard to find. But we are hard to find on your planet unless you use a double wave ion modulator set to a zenith boron setting. In the mean time, thanks for the pizza. Much better then skog drizzle substance.

    June 6, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
  8. Daniel

    Thank you for your time, Jill. It was not wasted. You did what you wanted and loved what you did. How many people can retire and say that? Not many.

    June 4, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
  9. black spartan007

    too sad that they are dropping it without knowing that we have been around since the beginning....we walk with Humans, live with them, smile with them....but we are not like them...when they discover it, there will be a lot to say....let's hope they can before it is too late... kell nock pfew epfrail mek shel nok

    June 2, 2012 at 8:50 pm |
  10. jaimie

    Folks... they are out there somewhere. Many years ago 4 of us saw a flying saucer all lit up at night. No, we did not see aliens. It did crazy things in the air no human aircraft could do. We called the police after we saw what had happened and they told us to call back when it landed. We could not believe they would say that. I know there are people who fake pictures of ufo's and such. We have been believers since then.

    June 2, 2012 at 6:31 pm |
    • Mekhong Kurt

      @jamie, sorry, but for the four of you to see something in the sky doesn't even necessarily make it a genuine UFO - which means, simple, "Unidentified Flying Object," much less solid evidence of intelligent aliens elsewhere or in control of whatever you saw.

      An amateur astronomer and general sky-watcher since my early childhood in the 50's growing up on a ranch in the Dallas-Forth Worth area in Texas, I spent thousands of hours over the years gazing upward, and came to be able to identify a fair number of aircraft, as there were numerous military air bases, private and public general aviation airfields, and two then three commercial airports for airlines. Heck, just within forty miles there were three military airbases, two for fighters, one for bombers. And I don't know how many private and public general aviation airfields.

      Yet I made mistakes, such as the time I saw two brighter-than-Venus at its brights objects close together way up in the southeastern sky one crystal morning right after dawn. Even through telescope, admittedly an inexpensive one, I couldn't fathom what they might be.

      After about half an hour, I called one of the fighter bases and reported them. A little while later, a sergeant called me back and ask me to be more precise about my location, exactly where in the sky I saw the objects, and so on, adding that no radar in the region could detect anything in the general later. Then, a somewhat longer while later, an officer and aid the base had gone of some level of alert and sent an regional one to other bases, then scrambled two fighters two fighters to search for and intercept the objects.

      Turned out what I saw were two weather balloons floating in extraordinarily rare weather conditions: there was absolutely NO wind. They were higher than the jets could fly, but the pilots were able to get a good enough look to have the base call the Weather Bureau, as it was called back then, who confirmed they had two balloons in the area.

      Interestingly, the officer who called me added that the base commander had asked him to be sure to thank me and to encourage me to report such matters anytime. guess I earned a bit of street cred with them!

      But I was incorrect.

      Do I believe in the existence of alien intelligent life elsewhere? Absolutely. But not necessarily more advanced than us. Nor necessarily right *now* - given the age of the cosmos, there has already been way more than enough time for life (as we know it, that is) is arise elsewhere, evolve, then disappear, for whatever reason, without a trace forever - long ago. And with the remaining time in the life of the universe, there will be ample opportunity for it to develop, perhaps long after *we're* gone.

      There's a saying attributed to Ian Flemings spy novel, "Goldfinger":

      "Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. Three times, it's enemy action."

      (Some say the saying goes back centuries, and the Fleming attribution is plain wrong. sounds more like Sun Tze's ""he Art of War" to me!)

      Of course, that third part well might mean, in this case, "three times means it's time to check it out." No need to go off with Big Iron blazing, at least not necessarily. It might be "E.T."!

      June 11, 2012 at 10:06 am |
  11. w l jones

    We have the tech. to recreate life by sending a rocket five of six hundred mile out and collect space matter then use steam elect charge will began the process.

    June 1, 2012 at 9:18 am |
  12. Eric Pickles




    June 1, 2012 at 8:35 am |
    • Mekhong Kurt

      Mr. Pickles, I always DID wonder if all those moonshiners' stills up in the hills and hollers were dual-use technology - the moonshine can send you out of this world alright, while the still can take you to a more real version, LOL!

      June 11, 2012 at 12:11 pm |
      • Mekhong Kurt

        Mr. Pickles, plumb forget to ask a real important question: drinker-passenger or moonshiner-pilot??? 😉

        June 11, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
  13. Sam

    It just so happens I am a bible thumper. Were did the energy that started the entire universe come from? God's power isn't limited to the earth, but to everything. Humans have been looking for answers to the questions that drive us. This question has drove me, and anyone who has been looking for ETL hasn't wasted their life, they satisfied their hunger for a proper answer. Thier is no answer yet, there may never be in the human's time, but the universe can go on forever. We don't know whats there so we can't generalize that "There is no ETL."

    May 30, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
    • jorge

      so you are saying that he only made this one blue marble for us and left he other billions of planets big cold rocks?? you are nuts.

      May 31, 2012 at 12:41 pm |
      • Mekhong Kurt

        @jorge - read the comment a bit more carefully. He SAID we don't know what's there and that anything's possible. He reinforced his statement by telling the SETI folks they haven't wasted their lives. And he says (though I believe incorrectly) that the universe could last forever - meaning if alien life and even intelligent life isn't "out there" now, it may be later.

        I know he has some spelling and grammar problems - heck, I'm a retired university writing teacher, a writer, and a past editor - BUT it's not THAT hard to read past those problems to understand his actual message.

        Give him a break, jorge! He said the exact OPPOSITE of what you think he did. I'd say the problem is in your reading comprehension - not his writing skills, or lack thereof.

        June 11, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
    • sumday

      G-d, the universe, life is like this. G-d built a computer said let there be light and plugged the computer in. Then G-d started writing programs- like the game Sims. this is why space can expand faster than time- it's just G-d throwing in more memory to the computer and time is just him writing the program. Besides that if you are a bible thumper you know that the bible mentioned several class of "angles". Read the book of Enoch for some fun thinking.

      May 31, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
    • Martin

      what do you think about his conference?

      May 31, 2012 at 8:38 pm |
      • Number 1

        Yeah I've seen this video but I don't believe in any of these. Too easy to fake but interesting to watch.

        June 3, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
    • jaimie

      I agree with you. The universe is vast and God obviously has reasons for everything. One day the information will come to us all.

      June 2, 2012 at 6:37 pm |
    • Mekhong Kurt

      Sam, ignore jorge. I just replied to him that the real problem is his reading comprehension, not you writing skills (in which you do have some difficulties here). But I got your message easy as pie - and I'm not even anywhere NEAR a Bible thumper. 😉

      June 11, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
  14. sven

    Hate to say this, but what a waste of life/talent. There's no ignoring Fermi's paradox. If there were ETI *and* if physics permitted interstellar travel/communication to be feasible, we would not need to search for ETI. There are other problems, of course. No intelligent civilization, no matter how invulnerable they think they are, is going to paint a bullseye on themselves by signaling their existance (even via remote probes). Sure we leak radio and sure there are flower child fools like Sagan among us who though it was a good idea, but luckily, laws of physics and vastness of distances are protecting us from ourselves, in the very unlikely scenario of ETI. Whatever way you look at it, it's a fool's errand – a slightly more "scientific" version of UFO or ghost chasers.

    May 29, 2012 at 5:05 am |
    • greg pearson

      BBC Radio interviewed Jill on this subject last week. That story line ended a bit different than this CNN spot. Jill was asked in 35 years of looking, hom much of space had her team covered. The answer was in a form earthlins could understand. Basically if we had been looking at all the earths seas and oceans for life, we would have looked at one 8 Oz glass full. Kinda hard to prove sharks are on earth in a kitchen glass of water dont you think Sven???

      May 29, 2012 at 5:45 am |
    • FX12

      Sven is really "John Bigbooty." Nice try, John.

      May 29, 2012 at 8:36 am |
    • PaulieJ

      Hey Sven, it's people with the drive to search for the answer to such a question like she's been working that are the reason you have your modern day theories in physics (and other sciences) that you cling so dearly to.
      There's a great line in the first Men in Black movie, "1500 years ago, everybody knew that the Earth was the center of the universe. 500 years ago, everybody knew that the Earth was flat. And 15 minutes ago, you knew that people were alone on this planet. Imagine what you'll know tomorrow." And while I do not believe that aliens currently walk among us, the underlying point of the statement is not lost on me. To me, one of the biggest blunders we can make as a species is to let our arrogance bolster our ignorance and we stop asking "what if ..." and just assume we've got the right answer already.

      May 29, 2012 at 9:45 am |
      • Ashley

        Paulie: "To me, one of the biggest blunders we can make as a species is to let our arrogance bolster our ignorance and we stop asking "what if ..." and just assume we've got the right answer already." You really hit it out of the park with that sentence. I think that is exactly right. Well said. I wish Jill all the best and I commend her work, efforts and insight. It's people who are willing to go out on a limb that change the course of history.

        May 30, 2012 at 9:18 am |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      Whether there is "contact" between species is not the big picture here, it's just knowing another is out there that will impact us the most. Even if we never come across another species, what we discover along the way will be worth the effort.

      May 29, 2012 at 11:23 am |
      • mharleman

        I think knowledge that can be attained responsibly is good. But I also think Stephen Hawking is onto something. Should we be sending out radio broadcasts when we don't know what we might turn up. I have my own feelings on religious issues, so I'll leave that out of this. Wouldn't it be smarter to wait until we are in a position to casually observe them before giving them our address?

        June 15, 2012 at 7:16 am |
  15. Jack Peterson

    Jill Tarter did not waste her life and many have heard her lectures. Clearly, her vision is as strong as her intellect. I wish her well.

    May 28, 2012 at 10:01 pm |
  16. magneticink

    Everything we need to know about extraterrestrials can be learned by watching the movie, " Mars Attacks ".

    May 28, 2012 at 6:31 pm |
  17. Non-Theist

    Typo in one quote?

    She also believed the curriculum needed a serious overhaul.

    "If engineers were as boring as my professions, I was going to find some other interesting problems to do," she said.

    Do you mean "professors"?


    May 28, 2012 at 6:24 pm |
    • endeavor43

      Yes, I was thinking that was a typo as I was reading it, and I agree that it probably should be "professors."

      May 28, 2012 at 6:34 pm |
    • Daniel

      I'm not so sure. She was quoted. That's what she may have said, as much as you think it's wrong.

      June 4, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
      • endeavor43

        Even though there were quotation marks around it, I doubt very much that she said "professions"; mainly because I think that Jill Tarter is too intelligent to say such nonsense in an interview. I think that it is much more likely that the author got it wrong when transcribing from the audio of the interview, and/or that the editor got it wrong.

        June 6, 2012 at 12:03 am |
      • Daniel

        You may be right. After having transcribed 45 minutes of audio last year for a paper, it isn't fun or as easy as it looks. But anyway, I watched Contact again last night. Great film.

        June 7, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
      • endeavor43

        @ Daniel, thanks for remining me that I have't watched "Contact" for a while. Now it's a must do - and SOON ! I still get goosebumps during part of it.

        June 7, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
  18. MrmagooSarahbobcappuccioSarahbob

    I enjoy wearing my tin foil helps me keep track of et

    May 28, 2012 at 5:52 pm |
    • endeavor43

      Actually it helps those of us interested in radio astronomy and SETI keep track of you!

      May 28, 2012 at 6:18 pm |
  19. jim atmad

    I am from the planet we call Callifrax. We have been monitoring your transmissions and we wish to meet your leader.

    Take me to the Lucy Ricardo, immediately.

    May 28, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
  20. janet carr

    Has anyone heard what the purple spot near the sun or the blinking light viewed by many on 5-27-2012 yet? I saw a quick video of it on CNN, then nothing more, even on their website. Curious is all.

    May 28, 2012 at 1:57 am |
    • svann


      May 28, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
  21. little green man

    Send more chuck berry

    May 27, 2012 at 9:28 am |
  22. Josh Hedrick

    you know I have been putting alot thought into this and something dawned on me. I want to see what you guys think. Now galaxies and stars closest to the big bang formed much quicker than our galaxy and stars. That being said it is also logical to conclude that life on these distant galaxies and planets probably formed alot quicker. Infact a civilization that is out into those areas could be possibly a Billion years old compare that to our civilization which moderen man is thought to be about 200,000 years old. We have come along way but imagine how far along a civilization that is a Billion or more years old could have come along. I dont think it would be a good idea to meet any civilization that is that old. One reason being is you are taking a huge chance that they are friendly or not and if they arent friendly then we are more than likely screwed. So when it comes to looking for extra Terristrial life we should be looking out and exploring areas that are father away from the big bang than us. That way we will find civilizations that are closer to our own age and possibly development and should we encounter species that arent friendly we will have a better chance of dealing with them.

    May 27, 2012 at 9:16 am |
    • Jay

      The big bang started from a singularity, so there are no galaxies "closer" or newer. When the universe was expanding galaxies were moving away from each other in all directions. Now that it's collapsing they are rushing toward each other from all directions. The usual example is drawing figures on a balloon and then blowing up the balloon. The figures on the balloon get farther away from each other, but none of the figures on the balloon are any newer or older, or closer to the balloon than any of the others.

      May 27, 2012 at 9:26 am |
      • Greg Huey

        Good answer to the misconception concerning the Big Bang, but the Universe is not collapsing. On the contrary, data from multiple sources agree that the expansion is accelerating.

        May 27, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
      • Wrong

        Try again Jay. Its still expanding.

        May 28, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
      • greg pearson

        Heuy is correct. dark energy (about 60% of the known universe) is pushing it apart. Dark matter, about 25% of the universe is holding it togather. but it is still expanding very fast. without either light, would not happen, because there would be no suns. My thought is we need to go fastert than dark to get out past the moon.

        May 29, 2012 at 5:51 am |
    • karlheiz

      "alot" is not a word in the english language.

      May 30, 2012 at 12:47 am |
      • Mekhong Kurt

        karlheiz, true. As a retired English teacher of many years, including of essay writing to both native speakers and people for whom English is a second or foreign language, people I taught in universities on two continents, I know that too well.

        However, your correction might have a bit of gravitas were you to use basic simple proper capitalization. In the case of "Kurt," my name, capitalized it is simply an English and German personal name as well as a Turkic surname assimilated into English, but "kurt" is a German word meaning "abrupt" as well as a Turkic word for "wolf." There is no English word "kurt." (I'm American and a native English speaker - or American, if you prefer - if that matters.)

        June 11, 2012 at 12:47 pm |
  23. Damian

    I can't even imagine how humans that spent all their life beliving this huge lie will feel when they all discover that God exists and that ALIENS are not real, that they have wasted their life on nothing instead of looking for the real answers on the only source of trust which is the Bible left by our loving God for his childrens, people rather beliving in aliens than beliving in our Father that created heaven and Earth,

    May 27, 2012 at 9:06 am |
    • paspilla

      Feeling a little threatened are we ?? Did the article bash God and your religious beliefs ? Its thinking like this that tries to stunt the natural urge for us to explore. Always some group pushing there beliefs and agenda on everyone else....bugger off.

      May 27, 2012 at 9:23 am |
    • BP

      what I don't understand,,, is, why do we try to limit God to the earth? why do we refuse to allow God to have created life in the entire universe? I personally think that it's somewhat blasphemous for us to put limits on God's power and omnipotency. I have never seen anywhere in the Bible where it says that there is no life other than on Earth,,, actually, Jesus said that there were other tribes that were unknown to the folks he was speaking to,,, now, the Mormons believe that he was speaking of the American Indians,,, however, what if his statement was a little more far reaching?

      May 27, 2012 at 9:31 am |
      • Mekhong Kurt

        BP, I just made a comparable comment to Damian; I might not have had I read your comment first, as your point regarding blaspheme was my own central one, though i expanded a bit on the thought.

        Well said, BP.

        June 11, 2012 at 1:04 pm |
    • timz

      Damian, I've seen the movies and know who you really are.

      May 27, 2012 at 9:59 am |
    • yahmez

      Your fragile beliefs are threatened if you look anywhere BUT the bible, so you recommend that everyone bury their heads in a book of fiction, rather than look for REAL answers.

      May 28, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
    • Boohincus

      Religion is about tribe. Different tribe, different hokum. You just happen to have been inculcated by the predominant hokum of the west. Move on. You're just talking fairy tale. Move on.

      May 28, 2012 at 3:06 pm |
    • Wrong

      Anything can be called a lie or truth. The hard parts are facts. Try some facts- other than you believe in one of about 6,000 gods humanity has had during its short reign on a much older PLANET.

      May 28, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
    • Dave

      This response is to Damian's talk about God. Funny how you mentioned the Bible. Nowhere does it state that God created only us; it states he created everything. The creation of Earth and us just happen to be the focus of those passages of the Bible. Not that it matters. The Bible was written by humans, not God and so it is inherently not a perfect source for religious aspects. The central tenets of most religions are the same however, so I feel confident that the Bible at least got some aspects right. To be honest, I think it would be a cruel joke on God's part to create a universe and populate an infinitesimal world such as this with the only life forms in this vast expanse, and yet give us the means to traverse and explore it only to find...nothing. It would be like an epic and grandiose story with no climax that just builds up, then stagnates. Besides, I can't imagine God watching us from afar and seeing us fight over the same petty things we've been fighting over since the dawn of humanity while thinking that we are the best that he can do. I think it is only a matter of time before we meet aliens. Only time will tell whether we as a civilization will really be ready for it.

      May 28, 2012 at 6:02 pm |
      • appapo

        I do believe in God and also believe the Bible is his word; but I also agrees with you that nothing in the Bible implies or means that God created only us. But of one thing I'm sure: whether there is intelligent life somewhere in the Universe or not, it is the same for us, since we will never have any useful communication with them. We certainly don't now everything about the Universe, but we know enough about matter, energy, space, velocity, etc. to know that any notice we may ever have from other civilization will be centuries, maybe millions of years old when it reaches to us, and we never reach the closest ETI planet. therefore, for everything that really matters, we are alone.

        May 28, 2012 at 11:13 pm |
    • Sciguy73

      I agree with you about humans who've spent their entire lives fooled and living a lie. It is sad, isn't it? The evidence and answers are plain for all to see, if they bother to open their eyes and look. There is no god.

      May 29, 2012 at 7:31 am |
      • flounder

        And God said. A fool says in his heart, Their is no God.

        May 29, 2012 at 12:00 pm |
    • Mekhong Kurt

      Damian, I wonder if you realize - even *able* to realize - that your absurd statement is the epitome of the grossest blaspheme?

      Within the context of the three Abrahamic religions - Judaism, Christianity, and Islam - God's power and abilities are literally limitless, heeding no bound. In claiming speaking of alien life, you LIMIT GOD. Happily, within those same religions, He doesn't care a whit. You are infinitely less important in assessing His boundless power than a bacterium.

      Your ridiculous (within the Abrahamic tradition, anyway) assertion that alien life is a lie is a silly as it would be for me to ask you if you, despite the one-letter difference spellings in your personal names, you are the real Damien Thorn - son of Satan - in "The Omen."

      June 11, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
  24. Dan

    Will the bible thumpers shut up when we find life out there?

    May 27, 2012 at 8:51 am |
    • Damian

      you can spend all your entire life and nothing will be found, evil has lied all this decades telling humanity that there is something out there when there's nothing but stars, Kingdom of God is here!

      May 27, 2012 at 9:04 am |
    • Kevin

      The Bible-thumpers didn't shut up when they learned they were wrong about the Earth being the center of the universe. They didn't shut up when they discovered that the ascension would have had Jesus flyng into space, not heaven. They sure as hell didn't shut up with the discovery of dinosaurs and proof of evolution and the age of the Earth. They have ignored every scientific fact ever discovered that contradicts ANYTHING in the collection of old texts now known as "The Bible." Why on Earth would any discovery of alien life make any difference whatsoever to what they believe? We can only hope (and pray) that our Bible-thumpers don't ever become as fanatical as thumpers of other religious texts and start flying airplanes into buildings.

      May 27, 2012 at 9:34 am |
      • really

        ....uh, they have in the past(the crusades and the spanish inquisition) and now the tea-baggers are trying to subvert the rule of the majority by planting sticks in the wheels of congress. They ARE just as dangerous to our country, as it now exists.

        May 27, 2012 at 9:52 am |
      • Greg Huey

        Well said.

        May 27, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
    • Jack Peterson

      I wonder if these Bible thumpers have ever studied any science or prefer to live in some strange dogmatic past where they waste away life boring everyone sensible to death. Say, when We colonize the first earth like planet can we leave these Bible Thumpers on earth? Still another reason to explore space! Think of a planet without Bible thumpers. LOL

      May 28, 2012 at 9:51 pm |
      • KNstuckinbbeltGETmeout

        THANK you! Beam me up!

        May 29, 2012 at 9:10 am |
    • Mekhong Kurt

      Dan, of course they won't. They'll just fallback to "the Hollywood solution," like those who rather stupidly continue to deny over four decades later that the Moon landings were faked. After all, makeup artists can do amazing things - just think of the intergalactic bar scene in the original "Star War."

      I pity them. . . .

      June 11, 2012 at 1:13 pm |
  25. peick

    I love how you can make an entire career out of looking for an answer to a question that you never actually get to answer. But who cares? It was a good living.

    May 27, 2012 at 8:49 am |
    • Kevin

      In a large part, that's what science is all about: making discoveries that might benefit people in the future. If you ever want to give up learning and thinking for yourself, just choose a religion.

      May 27, 2012 at 9:37 am |
    • really

      Well, Peick, the answer might just come tomorrow.....

      If you do not look, you will never find.

      May 27, 2012 at 9:55 am |
    • Mekhong Kurt

      peick, I've been retire for many years, and I spend a *great* many hours every single day on the Internet reading everything I can, including in the sciences, in all of which I am an amateur but of which I also am a long-term fan - and reader - so I like to think of myself as at least a little bit an *educated* armchair observer.

      The seach itself is a huge part of the reward. I've never made a dime from what scientific knowledge I have, nor will I ever. It's enough to sate me.

      June 11, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
  26. Dan

    You can search for intelligent life yourself. Go to and download the application.

    May 27, 2012 at 8:45 am |
  27. nancy

    stay dirty, the aliens do not have immune systems.

    May 27, 2012 at 8:45 am |
  28. bill in texas

    i DO find it interesting that the human eye 'evolved' the way it light, whatever we're looking at, passes through the lens the image is flipped upside down, THEN hits the retina (made up of some 30-40 million light sensing cells)...this upside down image is carried along the optic nerve to the brain, where it is flipped back right side up! the whole visual system seems unwieldy in the course of evolution. certainly at some point we would have been viewing the world as upside down until the other links 'evolved'...and how many millions of years would THAT have taken?

    also, while there are several 'crackpots' in religion posting here (and a fewscience-based, um, interesting posts) i offer these thoughts....
    can science disprove the existence of God? can believers prove the existence of God? science examines the 'creation' with the idea there is no 'creator' behind it. most believers seem to feel God has to be defended to these scientists. the arguments get nasty.
    if there is a God, the creation itself should be enough to indicate His existence. like the swiss watch mentioned earlier. somebody had to make it. like the human eye...and all the other amazing aspects of the body and, really, anything you choose to studyin the 'creation' just seems to scream somebody had to make or design it...

    also, a lot of the science supporters have a lot of misconceptions about the bible and what it actually says, just as a lot of bible pounders have an incredible fear of science. if there is a God, then science is merely examining His creation and cannot disprove His existence.
    have a little more faith in your creator, believers!
    if some scientists believe the whole thing evolved and there is no creator, it's not going to harm me in the least bit.
    have a little more science, scientists!
    we will all find out what was what someday...or not, if we die and cease to exist, with no afterlife in some spiritual realm, with no further awareness of before we were born...or maybe there is a Creator, and what we do here does matter to Him in some eternal fashion...
    now, i am going to bring into existence.....some coffee!
    be ye kind to one another...

    May 27, 2012 at 8:17 am |
    • Langkard

      The problem with the "first cause" argument, Bill, is that it is just as fallacious as other religious argument. Your statement that "somebody had to make it" is a logical fallacy. If everything has to have a cause, then what is the cause for god? That demonstrates the poor logic in the argument used by the religious. The first cause fallacy is the backbone of the silly intelligent design and creationism arguments. But if you point out the above paradox in that argument, then religious people's eyes just glaze over.

      May 27, 2012 at 8:38 am |
      • theist

        I see what you have done! You have incorrectly stated the 'First Cause' argument's premise as being 'everything requires a cause'. However, the 'First Cause' argument is more complex than that, and would require more room than is allowed on here to explain, but I will point out that the logical flaw you pointed out is false. The 'First Cause' argument uses the logical premise that no effect can exist without a cause, not the premise that everything has to have a cause. There is a huge distinction between those premises. You can have a cause that does not have a cause if said cause was not an effect of another cause. This may sound confusing, but it is logically sound and does not violate the law of non-contradiction. Please read any of Dr. William Lane Craig's books for a more thourough explanation of the 'First Cause' argument. Thank you.

        May 29, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
    • Dave

      With regards to the human eye flipping over images, all animals do the same thing. Furthermore, an experiment was done years ago where people wore goggles that 're-inverted' the images and after several disorientated hours, their brain flipped the images again. Pick a better arguement next time.

      May 27, 2012 at 9:07 am |
      • appapo

        Have you tried that experiment yourself? The brain doesn't really "turns" the images again, it just gets to understand how to deal with it, just like when people loses vision little by little and they don't notice because the brain changes the way they do things to compensate. What he is trying to explain, and I agree, is that science cannot fully explain how complex organs, like the eye (which are composed of different interacting and interrelated parts none of them useful by themselves) evolved. And there are many other things that most common people that believe that scientific theories like evolution and big bang cannot understand, let alone explain them. They just hope (or should I say have faith) that somewhere there are scientists that know. I have an engineering degree, and sometimes when I hear some agnostic speaking on how the universe began, I make them some simple questions on quantum mechanics or other physics issues and, of course, they usually don't have the least idea. Don't get me wrong; i'm not saying that these scientific theories are wrong (not all of them, at least).But most of today atheists are nothing more than trekies that have learn their science from movies, comics and TV shows. But it is fashionable today to be a religion monger, just like loving vampire movies.

        May 28, 2012 at 11:45 pm |
    • Caveman

      I am a firm believe that all that which we see "is" a design. How could it "not" be? .. I don't proclaim the existence of any god of any religion. In fact, I'll go as far to say that if there is a god, he's not male or female, dark skinned or light.. but made entirely of pure energy since that is in fact, what the whole universe is made of fundamentally.

      Keep searching... "The truth is out there" 🙂

      May 27, 2012 at 9:12 am |
      • mlwartman

        i can agree with that.

        May 28, 2012 at 10:11 pm |
    • Bryan

      This made my day.
      And this coffee is great

      May 27, 2012 at 9:14 am |
    • aceeboy

      I agree Bill. Non-believers only recognize scientific facts or hard evidence but yet new technology always reveals a new unseen side of what was considered to be fact. Believers insist on putting God in a box that appeals to their sensibilities and belief system without understanding faith isn't necessarily something tangible. I definitely don't have any answers but I feel sure ancient civilizations (thousands of years before Christ) worldwide were alot more advanced then given credit (lack of hard evidence) and experienced phenomena that we see everyday but can't acknowledge/comprehend because of thousands of years of "hardwiring". Kinda like how it would be if a piece of paper were alive with a 2 dimensional perception. It wouldn't be able to acknowledge anything happening in the 3rd dimension.

      May 27, 2012 at 9:45 am |
    • Sciguy73

      Bill, get yourself some goggles that invert the images that your eyes see. Wear them 24×7. After a few days, your brain will get used to the inverted images, and you'll correct for it automatically. You won't notice that everything is now 'right side up'. The mind is very adaptive. And you didn't even have to evolve to do it.

      May 29, 2012 at 7:38 am |
  29. RindaLynn

    I am sitting hear tearing thinking about Jill retiring. Why? Growing up, if I had the ability, I wish I was her and could do what she has done. She has inspired. 🙂

    May 27, 2012 at 7:41 am |
    • PirateRo

      Indeed, yes.

      Inspired not only many of us but other astronomers, including Sagan.

      May 27, 2012 at 8:34 am |
  30. EchoBravo

    Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former.
    Albert Einstein

    May 27, 2012 at 7:26 am |
    • Mekhong Kurt

      EchoBravo, thanks for reminding me of that gem from Einstein!

      June 11, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
  31. Fritz

    Actually, I think she's a hottie. But then I'm an old guy.

    May 27, 2012 at 4:39 am |
  32. Fritz

    I think it is likely there are stray radio signals from routine communications traffic occurring within star systems inhabited by technologically adept living beings. But detecting them here on Earth seems a slim possibility. They are too far away in either space or time. The signals become lost in the interstellar noise. What I'm hoping for is a received transmission from a spacecraft or convoy of spacecraft passing near our Solar System. Even that is a billion to one longshot. It's also likely that I'm wrong so I think we should keep listening to the skies...just in case.

    May 27, 2012 at 4:12 am |
    • digitalcrypto

      People should learn that aliens don't need radios because they are telepathic. If you want to confirm this then just go outside and night and ask to see them. I can't imagine a telepathic society needing to slam electrons together in order to get a communication pushed around. They just don't need it....

      May 27, 2012 at 6:57 am |
      • mlwartman

        have you considered the possibility that they did not develop any psychic powers, just the technology to travel between solar systems?

        May 28, 2012 at 10:14 pm |
      • billybob

        So, I need to go outside and... "pray"?

        May 30, 2012 at 11:16 pm |
  33. toby

    The element of time is what thins out the chance of meeting life. It may seem that other planets with similar properties and locations exist but they could just not be at that stage yet. Play free games at for all kinds of cool retro and new games.


    May 27, 2012 at 3:22 am |
    • Mekhong Kurt

      SPAM ALERT! toby's a trolly - and utterly worthless - SPAMMER.

      June 11, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
  34. TheBubbA

    200,000,000,000 stars in our home galaxy the Milky Way. 100,000,000,000 galaxies in the universe. Pretty good odds for more intelligent life than what is on this planet, judging from the remarks to this article.

    May 27, 2012 at 2:23 am |
    • Polarb33r

      Its the equivalent of an ant trying to get a humans attention.

      May 27, 2012 at 3:16 am |
      • Francis Meyrick

        The ant might have a much better chance at attracting the human's attention, than we have at attracting ET's attention. We always -arrogantly – assume there is "intelligent life" on planet Earth. Us. Clever, compassionate (?), reasoning, scientific minded humans. That may be a mistake. We run the risk of appearing to a much more advanced civilization as thuggish, brutal, ignorant and best avoided. After all, we cheerfully kill each other, spend billions on research how to kill more, we fight like crazy, we are mortal, and our minds are very limited. I believe Carl Sagan knew this. Astronomy is, indeed, a very worthwhile and very "humbling" pursuit. I never cease to be fascinated by the scientific and philosophical implications of "the Pale Blue dot". I applaud the work of SETI, and the work of science, but I caution against the simplistic assumption that WE represent "intelligent life"...

        May 27, 2012 at 4:11 am |
      • Fritz

        A horde of yellow jackets flying out of the ground while I was mowing the lawn once got my attention. With 20 stings on my @ss and other places it was instant war. I found their hidey hole and nuked it with a gasoline bomb. Maybe Hawking really has some good advice on alien contact. We could end up being like those yellow jackets to them. ;op

        May 27, 2012 at 4:22 am |
    • mattski

      True but not all of those stars have planets around them, or too small and inert to supply heat. And there's only a slim region of our galaxy, about a third of it, that could have life in it. The region closest to the center is likely uninhabitable because it's a violent place as you get close to the SMBH at the center of our galaxy. And it's also not likely that any life could exist anywhere within a few thousand lightyears of a a neutron star, and those are pretty abundant in out galaxy. So it boils down to about a third of our galaxy is even tame enough to be habitable.

      May 27, 2012 at 8:21 am |
    • Number4

      The aliens would probably see us murdering one another on a daily basis and decide not to contact us.

      May 27, 2012 at 8:48 am |
    • Greg Huey

      Of course the important question is not "is there intelligent life out there?". Of course there is. The important question is what is the density of intelligent life? Low enough density, and will not matter – the nearest alien civilization would likely be so far away that we would never establish contact in a reasonable amount of time.

      May 27, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
  35. Ron

    People can't believe that out of all the thousands of galaxies filled with planets that we are the only planet to have intelligent life! Just because we breath air doesn't mean that other species have to! just because we have to survive in a certain warmth, another species may survive in cold or way more heat. Intelligent people on this rock believe that their is intelligent life elsewhere!

    May 27, 2012 at 1:42 am |
    • retsilla

      People believed the world was flat and if you went far enough you would fall off the edge. So yeah, people can and do believe nothing is out there.

      May 27, 2012 at 2:22 am |
      • Daniel

        Now that you put it that way, I find your comment sad and a litle crazy. People actually thought they would fall off the edge! But nobody knew where that "edge" was.

        June 4, 2012 at 1:10 pm |
  36. right as rain

    At least she didn't find Jar Jar Binks. That would have been really lame.

    May 27, 2012 at 1:04 am |
    • thebachdog


      May 27, 2012 at 6:08 am |
  37. Mike R

    "Movies such as "Men in Black III" and "Prometheus" should be seen as "metaphors for our own fears," not a foreshadowing of danger, Tarter said in a recent statement."
    ...Or metaphors for what has already happen in the historical past through colonizations and genocides. Our own fears is what can destroy us as a species.

    May 27, 2012 at 12:50 am |
    • Yuh

      Our fears are often there for a good reason. Aliens may not be as politically correct and "nice" as Academics may like to imagine. They might not care. They might not even have a morality to care about.

      May 28, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
  38. unafy

    Very strong woman, if we work hard we can achieve anything!

    May 27, 2012 at 12:38 am |
  39. Max in NY

    marek's just mad because he'll never accomplish what she has

    May 27, 2012 at 12:22 am |
  40. sunglasses

    Mankind, Jinns, and angels share the earth, sometimes right inside our own living quarter. Mankind can not see jinns & angels, but they can see us at every movement. Jinns basically do not like to trangress human's lives, as they have their own families, health, community problems. Yet, if one or two of them do, they can appear like human, animal, UFO, whatever they like. Especially to naughty people. They are like gas and depending on their race, some can fly. At worst, whispering bad things into our body and we call it "demon penetrates or evil spirit sicknens me". We can just say "i seek protection from Almighty God from the devil. Amen". It will scare them away. But make sure always remember the only one, Almighty God, the Sustainer, cherisher, and eternal.

    May 27, 2012 at 12:21 am |
    • fred37ify

      Anyone who want can help with the SETI project ! It is a free screensaver program that you can download and your computer runs analisis of the radio telescopes information ! Very cool ! I have been running it for over two years with no problems ! Google it and give it a try !

      May 27, 2012 at 12:49 am |
    • fred 37ify

      Anyone who wants can help with the SETI project ! It is a free screensaver program that you can download and your computer runs analysis of the radio telescopes information ! Very cool ! I have been running it for over two years with no problems ! Google it and give it a try !

      May 27, 2012 at 12:51 am |
    • In a bottle...

      i believe the proper word is "Djinn".

      May 27, 2012 at 12:54 am |
      • Intellects Vast And Cool And Unsympathetic

        I believe the proper word is gin. Or, you know, cheap bourbon.

        May 27, 2012 at 12:59 am |
      • In a bottle...

        I believe "clear alcohols are for rich women on diets."

        May 27, 2012 at 1:01 am |
      • In a bottle...

        Although, Hendrick's gin is quite possibly the best.

        May 27, 2012 at 1:10 am |
    • Fritz

      There are no jinn, neither incubus nor succubus. (beings of light) There is no Shaitan. Humans are not made of smooth back loam, we evolved from past living forms over eons of time. But most of all, there is no 'allah'.

      May 27, 2012 at 3:48 am |
  41. td

    At least she didn't waste her life. Oh wait.

    May 27, 2012 at 12:00 am |
  42. minhajarifin

    Contact was a fantastic film. I loved it when Jodie Foster says, 'They should have sent a poet.' Can humanity actually make contact and have such an amazing moment? I hope so. One of my fantasies is to deliver a deep dish pizza to an alien space ship. I want them to taste our greatest creation.

    Minhaj Arifin
    Author of
    How Desis Became The Greatest Nation On Earth

    May 26, 2012 at 11:26 pm |
  43. Lisa


    May 26, 2012 at 11:19 pm |
    • worldlypatriotusaveteran

      Good response!

      Lisa is disrespectful to an American pioneer and mentor engineer to thousands.

      May 27, 2012 at 12:20 am |
    • really

      They belittled Columbus, too!

      May 27, 2012 at 11:08 am |
      • appapo

        Yeah! But they followed Ponce de Leon, looking for the Fountain of Youth; and Orellana looking for El Dorado. But all they found was death. Not all explorations ended like Columbus'. I really hope I'm wrong, but I thing that SETI will end like Ponce de Leon's.

        May 29, 2012 at 12:06 am |
  44. StayinAlive

    There are those who waste their lives searching for it on other planets while there are those who live it here on Earth for others.

    May 26, 2012 at 11:16 pm |
    • Hawk

      And there are those who do nothing but sit and snipe at the dreams of others. Her failing to find "little green men" doesn't make her life a waste, any more than not curing cancer makes a medical researcher's life a waste. She helped to inspire people to study science, to search the skies and to seriously consider if life could exist beyond our little, blue planet. I call that a life successfully lived – especially if she enjoyed what she did, as she apparently has.

      May 27, 2012 at 12:04 am |
      • John

        So true! As Thomas A. Edison noted, every failure teaches something, what did not work and therefore needs not be tried again. Narrowing any field of study is a gain.

        May 27, 2012 at 12:18 am |
    • really

      @ StayinAlive.....anybody named after a Bee-Gee's song can't be taken seriously!

      May 27, 2012 at 11:10 am |
  45. Robert

    Just curious.....if our closest star had a planet that had been using TV signals for the last 60 years like we have, would SETI have detected it? Or is our equipment not yet sensitive enough for that?

    May 26, 2012 at 11:15 pm |
    • MItch

      Robert. We have radio signals being transmitted for about 100 years. Not just for them but that's when radio began. If the nearest planet were 1000 light years away they won't hear the first radio signal for 900 more years. Then if they understand it we won't get their answer for another 1000 years. Wake me then.

      May 26, 2012 at 11:43 pm |
      • Ron

        You are assuming that intelligent life would have the same primitive type radio gear! They could be monitoring us with waves so strong that they recieve our radio waves two weeks after we sent them, who is to say they don't have their own trancievers in deeper space that bounce our signals to their planet at faster then light tranmission. We just developed stealth technology! How do we know that they are not sitting out there in huge ships and we cannot detect them because they have a much more advanced form of stealth technology!

        May 27, 2012 at 1:56 am |
    • Sciguy73

      The closest star to Earth (besides our Sun) is 4.2 light years away. The closest extrasolar planet discovered so far is about 10.5 light years away, around a different star. If there were civilizations on these planets, and if they were beaming a narrowband signal in our direction with a radio telescope, and we were looking their way and listening on the same frequency, yes, seti could hear them. We could possibly also hear high powered military radar sweeping our way as well. But we would not hear a relatively low powered wideband TV signal transmitted for local use on the planet. It is just too weak, wide, and not concentrated in our direction.

      May 29, 2012 at 8:04 am |
  46. pkfops

    What a waste of time.

    Everything we need to know is in the Good Book.

    She will burn for eternity.

    May 26, 2012 at 10:51 pm |
    • Intellects Vast And Cool And Unsympathetic


      May 26, 2012 at 10:54 pm |
    • TJ Beringer

      lmfao you mean the good book that has no facts in it what so ever other then jesus exsisted? and why will she burn for searching for other life? are you that ignorant that you think we are the only life in a universe we can't even being to calculate the actual size of? damn jesus freaks need to get real

      May 26, 2012 at 11:04 pm |
    • john

      lol, i thought the dark ages were over...

      May 26, 2012 at 11:06 pm |
    • Courtney

      Odin left a book???? Yay!

      May 26, 2012 at 11:32 pm |
    • Hawk

      Because "god" is so loving that "he" enjoys torturing people forever... ya – even if such a god did exist, it would not be worthy of my respect, much less my worship.

      May 26, 2012 at 11:48 pm |
      • really

        Good post.

        May 27, 2012 at 10:13 am |
      • Locke

        Amen brother.

        May 29, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
    • Qbesta

      pkfops, you and your lot are the truly representatives of the ignorance of human kind not much different from the terrorists that have killed so many innocent people. This radical religious approach to life and knowledge is part the root cause of so much suffering through out the centuries. As such, it is is clear that the dark ages are still around and it would so embarrassing if aliens contacted us right now. While we see this kind of ignorance, we are not ready for first contact.

      May 26, 2012 at 11:55 pm |
    • buttmom

      It's so cute how you still believe that. You still think the Earth is flat too don't you? I find it so amazing that you actually believe that your God gave you intellect (well...sort of) that he doesn't want you to use.

      May 27, 2012 at 12:19 am |
    • rickp530

      What happens to all good people when they die?
      "That's it. The end. Lights out forever."
      What happen to all bad people when they die?
      "That's it. The end. Lights out forever."

      May 27, 2012 at 12:42 am |
    • Gawd

      Are you talking about the book of fiction known as the bible?

      May 27, 2012 at 8:43 am |
    • Dan

      Put your head back in the sand.

      May 27, 2012 at 8:46 am |
    • Nick

      People have been murdering each other for the last two millennia over silly interpretations of that 'Good Book.' Forced 'enlightenment' of the peoples in the New World and elsewhere by European believers of that 'Good Book' killed millions in the span of a century or two.
      The Church once even crucified a man upside down for his blasphemous speculations that there might be other worlds with life somewhere amongst the stars. To my knowledge, no one has ever died in disagreements over the values of certain variables in the Drake Equation.

      May 27, 2012 at 9:49 am |
    • Nick

      Incidentally... Why would God have a beef with radio astronomers?

      May 27, 2012 at 9:53 am |
    • really

      Why don't you read a Better actually written by a scientist?

      May 27, 2012 at 10:11 am |
    • jim atmad

      The Flying Spaghetti Monster does not allow her subjects to burn.

      A little scorched maybe.....

      May 28, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
    • Sciguy73

      Yes! The good book! Google "Tim Minchin Good Book" if you have any doubts about the good book. He will set you straight.

      May 29, 2012 at 8:07 am |
  47. searchingIsForYou

    Doesn't matter if aliens exist or not, there is life all around you that you can't even see. Much bigger and greater. Why do you think you people have eyes? You look at one another and all you are is particles. Think about that. You are looking at energy particles. Now think of all of the things your eyes can not see. You fools make me disgusted.

    May 26, 2012 at 10:47 pm |
    • endeavor43

      Please describe what you mean by an "energy particle."

      May 27, 2012 at 12:44 am |
    • Dan

      What are you tripping on?

      May 27, 2012 at 8:47 am |
    • jim atmad

      My hands are HUUUUGE!

      May 28, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
    • John

      You were probably referring to the dual nature of light. Correct?

      May 28, 2012 at 10:43 pm |
  48. Intellects Vast And Cool And Unsympathetic

    So many hippedy-dippedy New Agers, baggers, Luddites, and small minded religidroids. Thank FSM, however, there are voices of science and reason.

    May 26, 2012 at 10:34 pm |
  49. charles bowen

    It's not out there it's in here down under where no one will ever look .......Charles Bowen Solomon Stone

    May 26, 2012 at 9:59 pm |
  50. L

    SETI is a fairy tale too, a science fiction story.

    May 26, 2012 at 9:35 pm |
    • Intellects Vast And Cool And Unsympathetic

      Hell, L, you obviously don't understand SETI, science fiction, or finally, science.

      May 26, 2012 at 10:30 pm |
  51. JJK

    is it even reasonable to think simply based on just the coincidences alone within our earthly system that life here on this planet is the product of chance? The number of components in just the right measure including the mass of out planet and the distance from our sun, and the fact that we have and iron/nickle core that's spinning like a dynamo, not to mention that everything operates with symphonic precision and can be quantified numerically surely reflects INTENT does it not?
    If you were to find a Swiss made pocket watch buried in the sand while walking along the beach, one would certainly have to presume logically that there was indeed a watchmaker? Yet when people see the mechanics of the universe on a macro level all the way down to the smallest particles on the atomic level -all operating at a level far more advanced than a watch they dismiss the phenomena as the product of spontaneous genesis...WHY???

    May 26, 2012 at 9:33 pm |
    • John

      And one would have to assume someone had to create the watchmaker. Where does it end? You people aren't willing to accept a microbe popping up, but tell you there's a big ole all-powerful god popping out of nowhere and you fall for that.

      May 26, 2012 at 9:43 pm |
      • john

        the universe always was, the big bang was just 2 enormous objects eventually colliding in space, they probably were out in space for eons getting closer and closer to colliding until bam one point in time they hit and started the universe in motion. or maybe the universe was just one giant star that eventually went super nova maybe the first only star.

        May 26, 2012 at 11:17 pm |
    • Hawk

      Because, first of all, we know that every part of a watch serves a purpose. It was designed that way. There are no extra parts. Yet, when we look at life on this planet, we find extra parts. Humans born with vestigial tails, the evidence of vestigial leg bones in whales.

      Secondly, if you are so fascinated with how the earth has an iron core and how that could not be an accident...ten why did it have to have plate tectonics? Plate tectonics cause earthquakes and volcanoes, killing, and harming innocent people and animals. Couldn't the world have been designed better?

      Finally, if there is a god, who made that god? If you say, no one", then why does the universe need a creator? If god doesn't need one, why not just save a step and just say that the universe didn't need one?

      May 26, 2012 at 9:45 pm |
      • Consultofactus

        "Finally, if there is a god, who made that god?" That is one of the eternal questions that by deductive logic we humans can never answer – read Descarte's "Principia Philosophiæ" which develops the logical argument that it is impossible for the finite to fully perceive the infinite.

        May 27, 2012 at 9:22 am |
      • Sciguy73

        She didn't waste her life. Thanks to her efforts (and SETI's) we now know there isn't any intelligent life using radio on the frequencies they've searched on any of the stars nearest to Earth. If she hadn't looked, we wouldn't know that. This is how science works.

        May 29, 2012 at 7:48 am |
  52. TexMan

    Live well and prosper

    May 26, 2012 at 9:30 pm |
    • peter

      And just when I was about to answer all those radio calls you've been making for sooooooooo many earth years~

      May 26, 2012 at 10:01 pm |
    • john

      it's "live long and prosper".

      May 26, 2012 at 11:10 pm |
      • DanO

        Geek Test.... You Pass!

        May 26, 2012 at 11:26 pm |
      • Intellects Vast And Cool And Unsympathetic

        It's whatever he wants it to be.

        May 27, 2012 at 12:57 am |
  53. Mork (the other mork)

    kinda sad really, if she just could have held on for a few more months...but I jump the gun. Happy retirement 🙂

    May 26, 2012 at 9:30 pm |
  54. Neutronstar

    If there is intelligent life out there, they would be wise to stay clear of the Earth – too much BS going on and too many problems to list here – this planet should be quarantined from the rest of the universe.

    May 26, 2012 at 9:26 pm |
    • rbe1

      Maybe Earth already has been quarantined.

      May 26, 2012 at 9:43 pm |
      • Ariel

        That is exactly what they do – they come they observe us and leave us alone. We are still a very primitive civilization where over 90% of people believe in understandings of pre-dark ages relative to non-physical. No advanced civilization will establish full contact with such a primitive thinking or civilization that believes that brain generates thoughts.

        Our non-physical C-body or spiritual body made of non-physical C-energy Units does and stores thoughts and sends them. Until we accept uniform science of our C-body which applies to all equally as we accept that the science of our P-body or our physical body applies to all equally and we learn how to use this knowledge and instant C-energy they have NOTHING to communicate to us about because we do not know how to LISTEN to them!! Wrong approach, wrong energy and wrong science!!

        May 26, 2012 at 9:59 pm |
      • John

        And how would you know? Taking wild guesses about what someone far superior to you is doing is foolish. State you'd like to believe this is so, but don't dare try to pass it off as something you know, because you don't.

        May 26, 2012 at 10:02 pm |
      • Ariel

        We have the non-physical CTP Energy Science to prove it – it always produces the same predictable results if its rules are understood like configured C-energy pattern or thought leaved a C-body and it always seeks its destination per GCF (Group C-energy Frequency) of the target and it arrives there instantly every single time.

        Without understanding this principal of CTP Energy Science you cannot do SETI. It is not a belief or a religion it is the exact science of non-physical that ALL advanced civilizations know – that is why they are advanced – they have gone beyond physical or P-science only. You cannot build actual systems on beliefs that belong to pre-dark ages when there was no science!

        May 26, 2012 at 10:13 pm |
    • Fritz

      Ha! How do you know we aren't under quarrantine already? There might be an alien conspiracy to keep us warlike humans from finding out about them! Perhaps an order from the Galactic Council forbidding any member civilization from aiming radio beams or lasers at Earth and blowing their cover! Of course we can't pick up their signals. They're hiding! ;op

      May 27, 2012 at 3:58 am |
    • really

      Yeah. If aliens were to come here, they would probably nail them to a cross or stone them......way too dangerous.....for the aliens!

      May 27, 2012 at 10:18 am |
  55. Sean

    It certainly can be but I don't think it's a myth. Something as complex as the human body must have something behind it.

    May 26, 2012 at 9:19 pm |
    • John

      Yet you're willing to accept the premise that god just popped out of nowhere.

      May 26, 2012 at 9:41 pm |
    • Hawk

      Evolution by natural selection. It's a simple explanation really. If you aren't adapted well for your environment, you die, or get eaten. If you have some adaptation which gives you an advantage, you live to pass that adaptation on to your progeny. After enough time, you are no longer the same species you once were, because you have changed so much that you can no longer mate successfully with your original species. It isn't "directed" by anyone. It is "directed" by who happens to be best adapted to live long enough to pass on their genetic material.

      No, it does not answer, "the origin of life". But then, that's a question no one can answer with any proof.

      May 26, 2012 at 9:52 pm |
    • Vpanoptes

      The word you are searching for is "evolution"....

      May 26, 2012 at 10:19 pm |
    • youreyesareweird

      ...yah, it's got 4 billion years of evolution behind it..

      May 27, 2012 at 12:17 am |
      • youreyesareweird

        why doesn't reply actually reply to the post you're trying to reply too...

        May 27, 2012 at 12:18 am |
  56. graham rose

    Radio signals emanating from Earth through the 1930's would be virtually undetectable from space. The thousands of radar beams sent out during World War II will be detectable all over the galaxy. These will attract the interest of aliens until they pick up our television signals and realize we are not so intelligent after all.

    May 26, 2012 at 9:19 pm |
    • Kevin

      Not all over the Galaxy!!!!! The Galaxy is 100,000 light years wide. Our signals would only reach out about 100 light years from now! Knowledge graham Knowledge

      May 26, 2012 at 9:27 pm |
    • Fritz

      Any of those ETs 60 or so lightyears away might be watching 'I Love Lucy' right about now on their big million meter dishes. I wonder what they're thinking about that? Would they be puzzled about the antics of Lucy and Ricky? It's an awesome thought!

      May 27, 2012 at 4:33 am |
  57. Sean

    There IS life out there..any intelligent person would agree...the unfortunate truth is that it's probably too far away.

    May 26, 2012 at 9:17 pm |
    • QuestionEverything

      What makes you so sure there is life beyond our planet?

      May 26, 2012 at 10:42 pm |
      • Hawk

        Probability, if nothing else. Given the fact that there are more galaxies in the universe than there are grains of sand on all the beaches of all the earth, and given that each of those galaxies are filled with stars, and so far, the majority of stars have been found to have planets orbiting them...odds are that life is out there.

        May 26, 2012 at 11:53 pm |
      • Avoid Arrogance

        We here on earth are the proof that life exists on any given planet. Now we seek another relevant planet to see how life formed there. The concept has already been proven, now we need to realize how very limited we are in knowledge and resources. If anyone thinks we are an advanced culture because we have a few gadgets they had better review their history texts. Humans ALWAYS believe they're at the top of their game. Time for a reality check!

        May 27, 2012 at 12:26 am |
      • right as rain

        And so far, we have not found a single instance of life on any planet other then earth. Think about life on earth. If scientists are so concerned about the 1degC the global warming might cause, then what are the chances that any other planet has exactly the right mix of air gasses, temperature, radiation level, gravity, solar intensity level and liquid water to actually support life?

        May 27, 2012 at 1:01 am |
      • Hawk

        Actually, scientists have found life on the earth that exists in places that we thought too hot for life to exist, or too cold, or with too little sunlight, or too much acidity – we call those lifeforms "extremophiles". They are proof that our concept of what conditions life can exist in has been too narrow. Now, yes, a 1 degree C change in global temperature is a danger...for humans and many other life forms. But not for all of them. Just because humans might die out if there were massive global warming, that doesn't mean that *all* life would die off. Some might just flourish. As for life that evolved on another planet...who knows.

        Also, were you aware that at one time, millions of years ago, Mars may have been habitable? In fact, there is a theory that life may have originated on Mars and then been "seeded" on the Earth via meteors. We may just be the descendants of Martian life forms.

        Finally, while we have yet to find life on other planets (or moons) in our own solar system, it is not impossible that we will do so in the future. There are some pretty good candidates out there.

        May 27, 2012 at 2:19 am |
      • Sunny

        Right As Rain, define "life".

        May 27, 2012 at 2:27 am |
      • Fritz

        Because 'Life' crawls all over THIS planet. Not just on the surface but in the deep rocks. It's almost as if the Earth itself is alive. Life is ancient, persistant, driven and tenacious. If there is a way to survive, Life will probably find it. Life may even turn out to be a true cosmic principle, not just a fluke of Nature occurring only once on one lonely little world. The notion that Life couldn't occur elsewhere in the Cosmos seems quite farfetched. Of course, 'imtelligent' life is another matter.

        May 27, 2012 at 4:54 am |
      • Sciguy73

        The law of large numbers guarantees there is life out there. We know life happened at least once. Even if there is only an extremely tiny one in a quadrillion chance of it happening, that means it has happened trillions upon trillions of times in the universe. There are so many stars, and so many planets, and so much time that no matter how improbable, as long as the probablility isn't 0, it has to have happened a lot. And we know the probability isn't 0. We're here.
        Another way of stating this is, anything not forbidden by the laws of physics is compulsory in the universe.

        May 29, 2012 at 8:14 am |
  58. keyser

    And of course she didn't find anything. What does that tell you.

    May 26, 2012 at 9:05 pm |
    • steven

      If she had find something, it would become classified and none of us could know about it anyway. Do you have any evidence that she didn't find anything? If not, leave the old gal alone and get a life lol, give her some respect.

      May 26, 2012 at 9:14 pm |
    • Howard

      All it tells you is, that they need to keep searching. The absence of evidence doesn't prove the evidence doesn't exist. It only proves it hasn't been found yet. We now know black holes are a fact of astronomical science, but that's because of evidence found only in the past half century. Yet black holes have existed for billions of years.

      Your shallow retort, however, proves just how desperately we need to keep kids in school until we're certain they capable of thinking.

      May 26, 2012 at 9:26 pm |
    • Hawk

      That she didn't find anything? I can go outside and look in my front yard for a horse. I probably won't find one. Does that mean that horses don't exist? Or that I just didn't look far enough? Or didn't look in the right place? Or look long enough?

      The universe is too vast for humans to be the only life that exists – or even the only intelligent life. Anyone who believes otherwise would be well to remember that we once thought that we were so special that we were the center of the universe and that the stars, sun and planets all revolved around the earth. We are made of the same elements, in the same proportions (with the exception of helium) as the stars are. We are a part of the universe. We are "star stuff". That, in itself, is rather cool – but we are not unique.

      May 26, 2012 at 9:34 pm |
    • Nick

      What does it tell me? Nothing much... We only have one data point when it comes to discussing life in the universe. i.e. "Us" You can only make so many inferences about life elsewhere (or anything else for that matter) with just one example. Besides... We are *still* trying to understand the chemistry of life on this planet for goodness sakes.

      There is certainly plenty of room. To quote Douglas Adams, "Space is big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind- bogglingly big it is." Like the search for extra-solar planets, it may come down to waiting until we have the right technology to find intelligent life.
      It may be an issue that we are simply not searching in the right places... It may be an issue that the development of intelligent life is *ultra-rare* and so spaced in time and distance from each other that, on average, none of them stand much of a chance of finding any other.

      It took a while from Galileo's observations of the universe through a 10 or 20x telescope of the universe to lead to the Hubble and Kepler Space Telescopes. Patience please...

      May 27, 2012 at 10:39 am |
  59. cacique

    We must assume that if an alien civilization has reached our level of technology, they too will have reached our level of destructiveness and are just as exploitative as we have become. If they show up we may greet them with a white flag and a big smile, but in the back of our head we have to know that they want something we got. Thinking othetwise would naive and childish.

    May 26, 2012 at 9:02 pm |
    • Dave

      Just because something is classified as science fiction doesn't necessarily mean it's not possible. Look back at some of the technology from the original star trek that didn't have a chance of existing at the time, and look how much of that same technology we're taking for granted in our every day lives now.

      May 26, 2012 at 11:08 pm |
      • right as rain

        We only have the lame stuff from Star Trek. When we get the transporter and the warp drives, let me know. Until we do, space travel is a total waste of our time.

        May 27, 2012 at 1:02 am |
  60. Bryan

    Dr. Sagan became a writer of science fiction–why would he do this if SETI-based science offered sufficient grounds for bona-fide research? Contact was a wonderful Sci-Fi movie. Unfortunately, SETI is more about science fiction and science.

    May 26, 2012 at 8:58 pm |
    • worldlypatriotusaveteran

      Carl Sagan was NOT only a brilliant scientist, he was a gifted writer of science fact, and science fiction.

      Nothing wrong with earning a living from both.

      May 27, 2012 at 12:28 am |
      • really

        Yes. Contact was the only science-fiction Dr. Sagan wrote. He published many other books of a factual nature. Cosmos and Pale Blue Dot were two of his better known books.

        May 27, 2012 at 10:53 am |
  61. Rags

    ..... don't forget santa clause and the easter bunny!

    May 26, 2012 at 8:56 pm |
  62. Archie Bunker III

    No need to look to the stars for aliens.They live among us here on earth

    May 26, 2012 at 8:53 pm |
  63. Bill

    The Truth is out there. We're closer to finding it because of interesting people like Jill Tarter.

    May 26, 2012 at 8:47 pm |
    • L

      And how are you certain that the Truth must be 'OUT' there?

      What if the truth is within or readily available on our planet?

      May 26, 2012 at 9:29 pm |
      • Bill

        In regards to the plurality of worlds... the existence, or not, of intelligent extraterrestrial life in our universe, the Truth is out there. I don't believe the answer to that is here, except to the extent that we can speculate from this planet and from our perspective that there's someone out there, and possibly many someones. Unless you're getting philosophical about the meaning of truth.

        May 26, 2012 at 11:21 pm |
  64. Kevin

    I know for a fact that this planet is being visited as I witnessed a UFO in 2000. I'm not so sure that listening for radio signals is the best way to proceed. Radio is our invention and no matter how many frequecies you scan in the radio bandwidth you will never hear intellegent beings right here on earth communicating like dolphins. There are countless ways to communicate right here on earth and radio is just one of them. There are probably thousands of planets right here in our own galaxy if not millions of highly developed and intellegent planets. I know we are being visited and that the beings are very near within a few hundered light years. They are so advanced that at our present evolutionary stage we can't comprehend their technology. There are an estimated 177,000 x 10 to the 23rd power stars in the viewable universe. There are LESS grains of sand on all the beaches on the planet Earth than there are stars. With the Kep. Telescope we are finding proof that most stars contain planetary systems. That means there are probably more planets than the 177,000 X 10 to the 23rd stars! Just look how technology has changed from the Wright brothers to Iphones in the last 100 years or so. Imagine a society 500 years advanced to ours or 1,000,000 years advanced to ours! These beings are that advanced and they are observing us like we observe monkeys!

    May 26, 2012 at 8:26 pm |
    • Rags

      Well said, Kevin. I agree.

      May 26, 2012 at 8:51 pm |
    • JC

      Well, monkeys are pretty smart creatures...

      May 26, 2012 at 9:03 pm |
    • Green Guy

      I agree to, Kevin. Only time will tell what lies ahead of us in the universe.

      May 26, 2012 at 9:10 pm |
    • Intellects Vast And Cool And Unsympathetic

      Mere imagination and speculation, fueled by bad SF movies. Fantasies are proof of exactly nothing. You saw a UFO? Yes, you probably did see an Unidentified Flying Object. Demonstrably, and by definition, you did not see an alien spacecraft.

      May 26, 2012 at 10:53 pm |
    • MItch

      Just did that.

      May 26, 2012 at 11:30 pm |
    • Ho

      Not all UFOs are from other planets.You have no way of knowing if what you saw was Uncle Sam or ET.

      May 28, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
  65. tom

    I always find the comments on articles like this disturbing. Most people are operating on the lowest common denominator of human intelligence. Either they make insane statements on alien life forms visiting Earth already, or paranoid statements of something being kept from the public, or ignorant statements on how useless work like this is, or the absolute worst – biblical nonsense.

    Her work is important itsthe first time in human history that any search technically can be done. The odds of finding a signal are a long shot due to the enormous size of the universe, but it is a noble pursuit. This has nothing to due with any god, nor any holy book, but seeks to answer questions on the existence of other civilizations and the frequency of life occuring in our universe. The cost is nominal, the potential insight, invaluable. If only reasonable people were not drowned out by the scores of nit wits that populate these posts, we may have more of the answers that all humans crave.

    May 26, 2012 at 8:08 pm |
    • rock woman

      Thanks, Tom. Well said.

      May 26, 2012 at 8:35 pm |
    • Robb

      I second that, very well thought out and written.

      May 26, 2012 at 8:56 pm |
    • JC

      I agree. Problem is often times ignorance gets in the way, religion gets in the way and plain cynicism gets in the way. Too much apathy to deal with for something that is as real as the sun, the moon and the stars.

      May 26, 2012 at 9:08 pm |
      • Ariel

        Yes ignorance is the best escape from learning something new especially if new is a true science of non-physical as Nikola Tesla predicted would be discovered one day and he said then the science will make more progress in a decade than all of the centuries past. All advanced civilizations that came to visit us thus far use CTP Energy Science – the exact science of non-physical.

        All matter starts with non-physical C-energy Units and we see only those Units which are coded by T-energy that defines our physical world and not others. Reason why G constant is 6 times larger than it should be – other physical realities exist but are not visible from ours thus we call it dark energy. But we are really in dark of real science going on.

        All advanced civilizations have figured out how C-energy becomes P-energy or physical matter via T-energy and can manipulate P-energy via C-energy. All UFOS use CTP Energy Science to get here instantly (no fuel, no time travel, no wormholes) and then they manipulate the g-code as gravity is not a field – it is a C-energy g-code imbedded in C-energy Units behind matter as read by T-energy. To manipulate gravity one must manipulate the g-code!!

        May 26, 2012 at 9:48 pm |
    • Jeff

      Puma Punku pretty much proves to me that they were here before. There is also evidence in pretty much every ancient society. They were the gods to the ancients. Hopefully when they come back they will be compassionate.

      May 26, 2012 at 9:36 pm |
    • Jef

      I third it. Dead on.

      May 26, 2012 at 10:13 pm |
    • Really?

      I fail to understand why God and/or the Bible has to be classified as nonsense. I am a huge fan of Hawking, The History Channel's "The Universe", quantum mechanics and many other fields of science. I also believe due to the law of large numbers it is very unlikely we are the only forms of life in the universe. I am also the lead guitarist on my church's Praise and Worship team. Every scientist will admit our understanding of the universe only goes so far...Dr. Kaku has said the word "singularity" used to describe the center of a black hole is just a fancy word for "we don't know". I don't ask anyone to believe as I do, nor do I put anyone down for believing's just sad to hear others automatically putting God down and dismissing the many ways He has reached out to us, in the form of the Bible, The Tora, Koran and in the spoken stories of many Indian tribes...oh yeah, and in the billions and billions of stars and Galaxies in the Universe...

      May 26, 2012 at 10:29 pm |
      • really

        Well, Really?, you have multiple-personality disorder. The known facts about the universe clearly show that God our minds. Hawking himself, who you admire, says that evidence shows that there is no God. I think you need some medication now for your delusions. Magic and science does not mix!

        May 27, 2012 at 11:03 am |
      • really

        Watch "Curiosity- Does God Exist?" hosted by Steven Hawking.

        May 27, 2012 at 11:19 am |
      • Sciguy73

        I suppose then you also willing to accept the fact of the Great and Meaty Flying Spaghetti Monster who created all things great and small upon the earth. And the invisible pink unicorn. And of course, the cosmic teapot in orbit between Earth and Mars. Because all of these things have exactly the same amount of evidence supporting their existence as god does. If you say, but, that is nonsense, there really is no Flying Spaghetti Monster, no invisible pink unicorns, or cosmic teapots, then you understand why I say the existence of god is nonsense too.

        May 29, 2012 at 9:22 pm |
    • AlaskaBorn

      Bravo, Tom! You captured the essence of why so many people on this earth continue to look to the stars and into the future. Please keep posting and inserting reality and sanity into such a polarizing subject.

      May 26, 2012 at 11:24 pm |
    • MaryM

      @Tom, thank you good comment

      May 27, 2012 at 12:34 am |
    • Sciguy73

      Consider how stupid the average person is. Then realize that half of them are more stupid than that. –George Carlin

      May 29, 2012 at 8:21 am |
  66. benn

    You won't be saying that when you stand before the Lord.

    May 26, 2012 at 8:04 pm |
    • Mick

      "Sorry, Lord, I didn't know talking donkeys were real."

      May 26, 2012 at 8:12 pm |
    • Skeptinomicon

      I'll take that chance. I prefer to live my life according to what is logical, not live it in fear in the hope that some magic invisible fairy is watching me all the time and will reward me if I am "Good" and smite me when I am "Bad". The chance of Aliens landing on my lawn and offering to cut my grass is higher than some mythical god of Patriarchal goat herders smithing me for admiring my neighbor's low cut dress.

      May 26, 2012 at 8:27 pm |
    • TJ Beringer

      you know whats funny "The Lord" is not the original god on this planet so tell me how it is the original people talked about GODS (the plural more then one) before your idiotic bible was written? Also tell me how it is the bible ripped off the story of Noahs Arc from the sumerians. What did people going back thousands of year see to call who ever it was Gods before Jesus was even born. I would also like to know if you can dial up your pal the pope and see if he will let us into the vault at the vatican to see what goodies they have down there. And why your at it ask what happened to the original copy of the bible and why they burned it because they deemed it had "too much info" in it. Learn actual history before you go around talking about "the lord" The funny thing is there is more references to aliens then there is "God" in history.

      May 26, 2012 at 11:17 pm |
    • Ho

      What will we be standing on? Marble? Cloud? Zeta Reticuli?

      May 28, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
  67. Frank Ch. Eigler

    "Tarter disagrees with Sir Stephen Hawking's warning that aliens might one day invade to conquer or colonize us; Tarter believes intelligent beings from elsewhere would just want to explore."

    There is no disagreement there. Tarter may believe that they would want to explore, but that says nothing about Hawking's warning that some baddies would want to conquer. Exploration and/or conquest are not mutually contradictory.

    May 26, 2012 at 8:03 pm |
    • Nah

      You do realize that it doesn't matter what either of the two of them thinks, right?

      It's all speculation. From the existence of aliens to what they would want to do if they could reach earth. It's pointless.

      May 26, 2012 at 8:09 pm |
      • Frank Ch. Eigler

        The difference is that Hawking advises not transmitting random communications, to make us more of a target.

        May 26, 2012 at 8:28 pm |
    • If they're more enlightened than humans

      If visitors are more...enlightened, than us, then yes. But if we are an example of intelligent lift...our history is littered with examples of technologically superior elements of humanity dominating and then destroying a technologically inferior sect (Western Europeans vs Native American Indians comes to mind).

      May 26, 2012 at 8:38 pm |
  68. benn

    She just wasted her time, like all those at SETI are doing. If a valid ET signal came through the govt would just cover it up or lie and say it was "asteroid's grinding together" or some other such nonsense.

    May 26, 2012 at 8:03 pm |
  69. b in fl

    aliens are within us now, we are all part of aliens

    May 26, 2012 at 7:45 pm |
  70. Ariel

    SETI has been a complete waste of time, effort, money and use of a wrong science for over 40 years – reason for no results to date. Many modern civilizations exist in our and other realities not visible from ours, but they do not use slow radio waves. They use instant non-phsyical C-energy that is Faster Than Light (FTL) or instant to communicate with each other. Such new true non-physical science exists already today and has been discovered by a brilliant mind-man-scientist born exactly 100 years after Nikola Tesla and from the same country of Croatia. You can learn more about it at

    May 26, 2012 at 6:03 pm |
    • H. B.

      Give me strength! Lady, if you are so sure you know of someone who has discovered those things, why not mention WHAT and HOW he went about doing so – and present it here.

      I don't want to go to some unknown URL that might give me a case of malware, thank you very much.

      Your statement would be all the better for proof. Unless this is yet another hoax, there would be things we could examine and study. And if this person HAS such things, why hasn't he presented them to the learning academies or governments? Why keep it to himself? Is he planning to found a new religion or something?

      If anyone HAD proof that faster-than-light speed had been achieved, anywhere in the cosmos, it'd be major headline news. Unless it's being kept secret, and I can think of no legitimate reason why anyone would want to do that.

      Pony up some proof, please.

      May 26, 2012 at 6:43 pm |
      • Mick

        Non-physical science? Hahahahahaha! Love it!

        May 26, 2012 at 8:09 pm |
      • Robert

        Um... the Large Hadron Collider accelerated particles faster than the speed of light. The story was displayed on CNN, but quickly died out.

        May 26, 2012 at 9:22 pm |
      • MItch

        Robert.......saw it on the discovery channel........last year and this year.

        May 26, 2012 at 11:38 pm |
      • Ho

        The past light story was debunked. Nothing is generally accepted yet as faster than.

        May 28, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
    • Steveds

      Einstein said that nothing travels faster than light. If your man has a theory that proves him wrong, Im all ears. Until then, back in the crazy closet you go!

      May 26, 2012 at 8:20 pm |
      • TJ Beringer

        back in the crazy closet? We haven't even come close to master space flight and you think Einstein actually knew that nothing can go faster then light? We know basically nothing so stop thinking we do, what may seem like a lot is nothing if you look at the whole picture, We can explain a grain of sand worth of what goes on in the universe because it is beyond our comprehension at this point in time. And he was correct they did accelerate them faster then light and the story after was "loose wires" can you tell me how something has loose wires when everything they use in the geneva facility is fiber-optic? And why the head scientist was forced to step down after reporting it?

        May 26, 2012 at 11:08 pm |
      • Sciguy73

        "We know basically nothing " Just because "You" know basically nothing, doesn't mean that "We" should be included in that. Einstein's prediction that nothing travels faster than light wasn't a baseless, off-the-cuff guess. It is a reasoned hypothesis, supported by fact, experiment, and predictions. In nearly 100 years, and thousands of experiments, it has always been shown to be exactly right, to as accurately as we can measure. So yes, I think Einstein knew what he was talking about.

        May 29, 2012 at 9:35 pm |
    • deadspam

      C Energy
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      A ctually
      C an't
      K ickstart a
      P otato
      O r a
      T oilet,
      S illy.

      May 26, 2012 at 9:30 pm |
    • AlaskaBorn

      Talk about pseudo-science, Ariel. What is this drivel you keep spouting? Makes me think you're a schizophrenic and can't move forward on this topic. Please, honey, take your meds, get into a calm state, and just "be."

      May 26, 2012 at 11:31 pm |
  71. wasso

    All she had to do was check out Hangar 51 instead of searching the skies

    May 26, 2012 at 11:53 am |
  72. fonseka

    She got payed for doing nothing. Well done.

    May 26, 2012 at 8:13 am |
  73. robert

    its good to use the latest technology in your quest to make contact from beyond or distant places. but, is it possible that since our world is so young in comparison with the other star system that E.T. may have visited us in the past, may be you or SETI should also look in our past history and investigate physical evidence if E.T. had contacted us already.

    May 26, 2012 at 7:30 am |
    • H. B.

      Our world isn't remotely "young"! It's 4 1/2 BILLION years old. It takes billions to form life at all, and billions more for the life to evolve to a point where one is sentient. Then a few thousand, at least, to become technological to our level. The solar system was formed more or less together, at the same time. The sun, as well as Earth, is approximately 4.5 billion years old. Our sun is now roughly halfway through its own lifetime, so we have approximately another 4.5 billion years before it goes bye-bye. Few solar systems in the galaxy are known to be older than ours to any significant degree. But there may be some that are billions of years OLDER than ours. Nobody knows for sure yet. Might they have visited us, at a time when we gave out no signals at all? Hardly likely, when you consider how many billions of planets that exist in our solar system alone. How would they pick one with intelligent but non-technical people on it? By pure chance. Then you still have to assume they've beaten the light-speed barrier, AND found us somehow, AND had some reason to be at all interested in poking around here. The odds of that in ancient times are even more vanishingly unlikely as modern day sightings are.

      If such visits had occurred in the past, there'd either be evidence of it that we could handle and study today, or else they didn't happen at all – or something equivalent to a tree falling unwitnessed in a forest. If nobody heard it, did it happen? Well, yes, if you see the fallen tree. Are there any "fallen trees" found by archaeologists that prove such ancient visits? I know of none. If there WERE any, it'd be proclaimed all over the world in text printed in enormous fonts!

      But ancient visits are as good as never having happened if all we have to prove them are people's statements. Even worse, ancient people were not capable of understanding what it is to be objective. Moreover, since so many people today keep claiming sightings, doesn't that mean they're not DONE with us? That they have some REASON to display themselves to us without making contact? We have no concrete evidence of modern visitations; why would we expect to have more from ancient ones?

      I know of no physical evidence from such visits, either ancient or modern. If you know of some, is there some reason that our universities should be denied the right to examine them?

      You don't even address the important questions. How did they manage to find us? How did they get to us across the unspeakable distances between our worlds? Why would they visit us and not make contact? What reason could they have to display themselves so often? Why not just land and say, "we're here, let's talk." They couldn't possibly fear us! And what is it, beyond conquest, that they could possibly want with us? An exchange of technology? Then why don't they get busy and DO it? What technology could WE possibly have that they'd not already have?

      You have to back up your idea with answers to these questions; otherwise it's just indulging in fantasy. Interesting fantasy, but not reality. Reality requires evidence – physical evidence.

      SETI is not geared up to study history. It is a project to detect radio signals of a type only intelligence could create. The search you mention is best done by archaeologists. And while SETI can't be called the best imaginable method of detecting extraterrestrial life, it happens, for now, to be the only way we have. In the future we will surely improve on the technology. They're doing the best they can at SETI with the technology they have. Nobody should expect more than that.

      We have only been sending OUT transmissions since radio was invented. That's what? maybe 100 years? And to be detected, our signals would have to travel MANY light years to reach any such civilization. And when the first ones arrived, they might not be recognized, if they're even perceived, since they'd be very weak signals. It isn't likely any signals from Earth could have been received by any form of intelligence yet. And when they do, and ARE perceived as coming from intelligence, we can only hope that they'd be interested at all in us enough to respond. And the response will take just as many years to get back to us. ONE exchange, alone, could take thousands of years! Hardly what you could call chit-chat.

      For now, all SETI is hoping for is to detect signals of other civilizations that were NOT aimed at us, but merely done in the course of their own existence. Any that DO reach us will be incredibly old, too. Communication over light-year distances cannot yet be equated to Tweeting! SETI's only real goal is to see if there is anything intelligent out there at all, rather than trying to talk to them. We can't hope for much more in our own lifetimes, I'm afraid. Sad, but true.

      I'm not going to look up the stats, but wasn't it Voyager which was launched with a metal disk containing lots of information about humanity, its location, what we're like, and even recordings made by people of our different cultures. I don't think it has traveled enough to even have left our solar system yet – in all those years! But if it has left the system, it isn't very far from it yet. Reaching another civilization would likely take thousands of years, at the very minimum. But it was a good thing to try, and great fun, like putting a message in a bottle in the ocean, but space is a MUCH bigger place than any ocean. Most people really can't comprehend just how BIG the galaxy is, let alone the cosmos. Maybe they could, but the mind boggles.

      May 26, 2012 at 7:28 pm |
      • H. B.

        Errata: "when you consider how many billions of planets exist in our GALAXY alone," not our solar system. Sorry 'bout that.

        May 26, 2012 at 7:37 pm |
      • Steveds

        "Even worse, ancient people were not capable of understanding what it is to be objective. "

        They had exactly the same brain as us or have you forgotten? Your whole statement is flawed.

        May 26, 2012 at 8:25 pm |
      • Yoomtis koonan

        You asked what technology we have that they don't; How about Rock and Roll, have you listened to the Stones lately, they are out of this world.

        May 26, 2012 at 9:45 pm |
      • Fritz

        I try not to dwell too much on that Hubble Ultra Deep Field Image. The least it does is give me a headache. I can see how it could drive some folks crazy to understand how big the Cosmos really is.

        May 27, 2012 at 5:02 am |
      • really

        Actually, scientists say that life arose after only a few million years, after the earth sufficiently cooled, of course. The rest of the time, it was evolving....

        May 27, 2012 at 11:26 am |
  74. Rio de Loca

    SETI is using the wrong tools entirely. Well, if it wants to find ETs that are EXACTLY like us, then fine – boring however that might be.

    May 26, 2012 at 6:32 am |
    • Pepinium

      Rio, I gather from your post you don't understand how science is utilized in the SETI program. Our observation of the universe has revealed certain truths (such as , for example that the observable universe is made off of the same elements we see in our surroundings) that help us use our reasoning powers to increase the chances of finding life out there. One simple example is the fact that, if you are looking for the complex molecules that we associate with living organisms, it is logical to expect these to be either Carbon or Silicon based since only those elements have the ability to bond with up to 4 surrounding atoms simultaneously. Sure, it does not preclude the possibility of finding life that is, for example, Ammonia based , but, again, all we are doing is using what we already know to try and improve our chances, instead of looking in every direction for everything out there!!!

      May 26, 2012 at 8:05 pm |
  75. Eric

    It's about time for you to consider believing the Bible, all of the answers are there.

    May 26, 2012 at 6:25 am |
    • curious

      No. No it doesn't. Not if you are interested in the truth. A bronze age middle eastern cult has absolutely nothing to teach us in terms of science. Absolutely nothing.

      May 26, 2012 at 7:36 am |
    • bill

      The bible is a book that has changed forms over many times depending on the cultists in charge of such things.. To make such a statement is asinine.

      May 26, 2012 at 7:40 am |
    • H. B.

      So if ALL the answers are in the Bible, why didn't they have cars and refrigerators back then? They knew it all, didn't they?

      You are a spammer, and are NOT welcome here with your off-topic mummery. Stick to preaching to the amen corner, if you please.

      The Bible only had any believability when humanity was profoundly ignorant. Now YOU seek to return humanity TO that same ignorance? Marching proudly, banners high, one step at a time – backward.

      Prayers have never cured disease; science has. Prayers have never fed people suffering in famines; science has. Science hasn't started a single war; religions all have. Pray till you're blue, but don't do it here.

      The Bible HAS proven some things, like just how uncivilized people can be goaded into being. I imagine you're proud of that.

      Go away.

      May 26, 2012 at 7:48 pm |
      • Nah

        It's ironic that you talk about people being uncivilized after you've gone on an absurd tirade against the Bible.

        Your entire argument was made up of fallacious strawmen, ad hominems, and false equivalences.

        I hope you're embarrassed.

        May 26, 2012 at 8:11 pm |
      • Yup


        May 26, 2012 at 11:48 pm |
    • Pepinium

      Your problem Eric is that you are lazy. You want to believe all knowledge is in one book because you don't really want to bother with thinking. I believe if "God" gave me a brain, he intended for me to use it to its full potential, not just to memorize one old book. The only advantage you have is the certainty that your i g n o r a n c e provides, still, I prefer to continue in my search and am prepared for the wonders to be discovered around the next corner to shake me up and make me re-evaluate my position. No thanks, keep your Bible under your pillow !!

      May 26, 2012 at 8:11 pm |
    • Skeptinomicon

      Which Bible? which version? does The Koran count? how about Buddhist holy texts? gosh, I better start reading, or should I just take your word that your version of the bible is the correct, straight from gods moutht to your ear version.

      once you study a bit where the bible orignates from, you quickly realize its all a bunch of rubbish. assuming reading it hasn't turned your mind to pudding.

      May 26, 2012 at 8:38 pm |
    • Daniel

      *rolls eyes

      June 4, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
  76. Rehman


    May 26, 2012 at 6:12 am |


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