5-speed listening (Extraterrestrial Life - Level 3)

Scientists start huge search for ET



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Is there life on other planets? Are we alone? These are two of the biggest questions humans have been asking for centuries. Now, scientists have launched a new search to find out if there is... anybody... out there. The researchers are from the SETI Institute in California. SETI stands for Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence. The mission of SETI is, "to explore, understand and explain the origin and nature of life in the universe and the evolution of intelligence". SETI scientists will use new technologies to scan the heavens for signs of alien life. They will share their data with the public. SETI hopes that by sharing data, "citizen scientists" could spot things missed by scientists.

SETI's astronomers will use 28 giant radio telescopes in their search for alien life. The telescopes are located all around the world. It will be the first time that a project will search the entire sky for signs of alien life. The signs they are looking for are called "techno-signatures". These include things like alien chemicals, large amounts of oxygen, non-natural structures, and light from lasers. Astronomer Dr Tony Beasley said: "Determining whether we are alone in the universe as technologically capable life is among the most compelling questions in science." Another scientist, Jill Tarter, said we are getting closer to finding out if alien life exists. She said this science is now no longer fiction, but "almost mainstream".

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