The SETI Institute in the news – Overview of the media. October 16-31, 2021

They are not aliens, they are Australians

At the end of 2020, the Breakthrough Listen project picked up a signal potentially coming from the management of Proxima Centauri. After a year of investigation, Dr Sofia Sheikh of Breakthrough Listen and the SETI Institute, and her colleagues, discovered that the source was terrestrial and not extraterrestrial. In two articles published in Nature astronomy, the analysis concludes that it was rather an artifact of terrestrial interference from human technologies. In addition to resolving the source of the candidate signal, the articles also discuss a data analysis process that identifies false positive detections.

“We know for sure that blc1 is human interference, and we are quite confident that the signal was coming from a transmitter on the ground,” Sheikh explained in an email. “We are also convinced that the transmitter did not intend to produce a signal at 982 MHz, but that blc1 was an accidental harmonic caused by some kind of electronic malfunction.”

Sheikh said it could be a cell phone tower that was then repaired after the sighting, or even some form of tiny consumer electronics near the telescope.

Frontier Development Lab (FDL) focuses on astronaut health

One of the goals of the FDL last summer was to better understand the radiation exposure of astronauts. In partnership with Intel, the team used both human and mouse date to create an algorithm capable of identifying cancer from radiation exposure.

The partnership with Frontier Development Lab is a chance to solve huge problems at scale, with cutting-edge technology and unprecedented collaboration between the public and private sectors in AI for exploration medicine, ”said Shashi jain, strategic innovation manager and FDL partner at Intel. “We believe the results of the FDL Astronaut Health Challenge will allow NASA to more effectively understand the mechanisms involved in protecting astronauts upon our return to the moon and beyond, as well as provide a plan to accelerate the use of AI in health applications on Earth. “

Capture CO2 in a bottle

With the help of SETI Institute scientists John Marshall and Claudio Vita-Finzi, students at Stamford Welland Academy designed an experiment to test which sodium hydroxide solution best removes carbon dioxide directly from the air. . (Spoiler alert – it’s 40%).

Young scientists from Stamford Welland Academy invited Alok Sharma, president of Cop26, to receive the bottle in the hope that she could sit on his table at the United Nations conference and point out the presence of carbon dioxide. carbon in the world.
The science lab experiment was designed using everyday objects, including a solar-powered garden pump and caustic soda solution.

UAP observationObservations and science

What does the history of UFO / UAP sightings indicate about the possibility that Earth was indeed visited by extraterrestrial technology? Science begins to devote more energy to investigating the most convincing cases.

If the aliens are here you have to say they are the best guests ever because they never do anything “,[Seth] Shostak noted. “They’re just buzzing. They’re not tackling climate change; they’re not stealing our molybdenum.”

Yet the ET idea should not be dismissed or ridiculed, argue Shostak and others. It’s not very scientific to rule out a guess right off the bat, after all, and some UAP encounters are very difficult to explain.

Ensemble science

Join hosts Seth Shostak and Molly Bentley each week as they explore emerging science and technology research.

Radical cosmology
400 years ago, some ideas about the cosmos were too outrageous to mention. When Dominican Brother Giordano Bruno suggested that planets existed outside of our solar system, the Catholic Inquisition had him arrested, imprisoned and burned at the stake for heresy.
Today we have evidence of thousands of planets orbiting other stars. Our discovery of extrasolar planets radically changed ideas about the possibility of life elsewhere in the universe.
Modern theories about the existence of ghostly particles called neutrinos or collapsed stars with unfathomable gravity (black holes), while equally incendiary, have of course not resulted in an arrest. Neutrinos and black holes were startling ideas because they came decades before we had the means to prove their existence.
Learn about scientific ideas from before their time and why extrasolar planets, neutrinos and black holes now lie at the frontiers of astronomical research.

With as guests Alberto Martinez, Anne Schukraft, Ephraim Fischbach, Chris Impey

Skeptical check: brain gain
Are you looking to boost your intelligence? Fortunately, there are some promising products to help you out. Smart drugs, neurofeedback exercises, and brain training video games all promise to improve your brainpower performance. But it is not certain that these products really work. Regulators have severely criticized some popular brain training companies for false advertising. But other brain games have shown benefits in clinical trials. And could we skip brain training altogether and take a genius pill instead?
In our monthly take a look at critical thinking, we separate the pseudonym of science from business cognitive enhancement techniques.
With guests Caroline Williams, Adam Gazzaley, Amy Arnsten, Kevin Roose, Leonard Mlodinow

Following Ensemble science episodes can be found at

SETI live

The SETI institute hosts weekly interviews with leading scientists on social networks. Recent SETI Live episodes include:

The end of everything (A special nightmare on SETI Street SETI Live)
It’s that time of year to gather around the fire and tell spooky stories – tales of doom to make you scream and dream of a universe that has come to an end. Do not worry. You will (probably) not be there to witness this ending, but it does happen anyway. Join us to chat with cosmologist Katie Mack about all the ways the universe could end.

Journey to the Frontiers of Life: Does Life Exist Beyond Earth
Join us for a special SETI Live in French! Nathalie Cabrol, astrobiologist and Director of the Carl Sagan research center at the SETI institute has written a new book which has just appeared on her personal journey, but also as a researcher and explorer. From his birth in France and his childhood watching Neil Armstrong set foot on the Moon, to his participation in NASA missions on Mars, to his dives in extreme lakes like that of the Licancabur volcano on the border of Bolivia and Chile , Nathalie is driven by her passion to understand the evolution between life and the environment, how they transform each other and where other evolutions could have taken place in the universe.
Journey to the Ends of Life: Is There Life Beyond Earth? Join us for this special SETI live in French! Nathalie Cabrol, astrobiologist and director of the Carl Sagan Center at the SETI Institute, has written an exciting new book about her journey as a person, as a scientist and as an explorer. Where she started when she was a child in France watching Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon, taking part in NASA missions to Mars, diving in extreme lakes like that of the Licancabur volcano on the border of the Bolivia and Chile, Nathalie is brought to understand the coevolution between life and the environment, how they influence each other and where other coevolutions could exist in the universe.

Find Guillaume Grallet, journalist at Le Point magazine and Adrien Bosc, editor-in-chief of the book at SEUIL, in conversation with Nathalie.

The Universe is Here to Have You (A Special Nightmare on SETI Street SETI Live)
On TV, the Last Frontier always looks incredibly beautiful and filled with adventure. The truth is, the cosmos is cold, dark, and relentlessly hostile. That’s for you, and we’ll chat with Phil Plait (better known as the Bad Astronomy guy) about what could happen to make sure your tombstone reads “Victim of the Universe”.

Videos of all past Facebook Live events are available on our Facebook page,, or on our YouTube channel,

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