This site, created by NASA Ames Research Center, is a
portal to a variety of news and information about astrobiology.
You can browse Astrobiology Magazine, find out
about workshops, missions, and technologies devoted to
the subject; consider the impact of astrobiology on society;
By employing a screensaver on the desktop machines of
participants, the SETI@home project has created a worldwide
network of computers, able to sift through and analyze
large numbers of signals that are coming from space. You
can download the software and be part of the search. Who
knows? Maybe your computer will be the one that finds
the signal from ET.
To read about the project and download the screensaver
How SETI@home works, an easy-to-read explanation of the
project from the Exploratoriums Ron Hipschman:
NASA's Mars rovers are like mechanical geologists, complete
with the Pancam (panoramic stereo cameras that can survey
the landscape); robotic arms to strategically place scientific
instruments; and even a drill to break and reveal the
insides of Martian rocks. The rovers' primary task is
to search for clues to past water activity on Mars. The
next rovers will land on the planet in January 2004.
Learn more about the current Mars Exploration Rover
Learn about the 2001 Mars Odyssey mission:
Watch the Exploratoriums Webcast about the rovers:
Testing the rover in the desert: an Exploratorium Webcast:
In a Puerto Rican jungle, twelve miles from the coastal
town of Arecibo, the world's largest radio telescope listens
for signals from the sky. The massive structure, with
a 1000-foot reflecting dish, was built in 1963. SETI@home
has almost contant access to the telescope.
Arecibo's home page:
An extensive photo tour of the telescope by the Exploratorium's
"Arecibo: Celestial Eavesdropper"
In 1974, astronomers sent the "Arecibo message,"
a binarily coded signal that decodes to a graphic illustrating
some basic characteristics of Earth. The message was intended
more to demonstrate the power of the telescope than to
contact distant civilizations. Cornell's twenty-fifth
anniversary announcement includes a decoded explanation
and more information about what the scientists were thinking:
devised the Drake
equation as a means of estimating the number of other
civilizations in the universe. Since the numerical values
arent known for all the variables in the equation,
you can designate them according to what you think might
be right and create an estimate of your own:
Want to know how the equation works? Read a brief explanation
from the SETI Institute:
Where there is water, there might be life. Using instruments
that analyze the X-rays and gamma rays emitted from Martian
soils, NASA’s Mars rovers can look for traces of
past or present water. In 2001, the Odyssey’s rover
carried a gamma ray spectrometer to detect levels of hydrogen
in the upper meter of the planet’s surface. The
recently launched Exploration rovers have three different
spectrometers that can look for minerals formed by the
action of water.
Information about the spectrometers on the current Mars
Exploration Rover mission:
Information on the spectrometer used in the 2001 Mars
Odyssey rover mission:
If we find other civilizations, what will we say to them?
Crafting a message that represents Earth and humanity
and can be understood by another life form is no minor
endeavor. SETI Institute psychologist Douglas Vakoch has
been charged with this formidable task, and has enlisted
the help of mathematicians, artists, astronomers, and
anthropologists. Hear the messages he helped compose,
and learn about the thinking behind them.
Hear and see ET sounds.