Live Chat: SETI and the Search for Extraterrestrial Life

See below for the chat box. Join us each Thursday at 3 p.m. EDT for a live conversation with leading scientists and expert reporters.
Today's Topic

There was a time—not too long ago—when talk of finding life outside the solar system was just that: talk. The search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI) was an exercise in fantasy to many mainstream scientists. Now, after the discovery of hundreds of extrasolar planets, there is an ever-growing certainty among planetary scientists that it's just a matter of time before an Earth-like, habitable planet is discovered. And if such a discovery is indeed around the corner, can finding life—and by extension, intelligent life—elsewhere in the universe be such a remote possibility?

How is the discovery of exoplanets impacting the SETI enterprise? Are researchers planning to conduct SETI searches any differently in the years to come than they have before? And does it make sense to assume that intelligent life—if it does exist beyond Earth—would be interested in making contact or even learning about our existence?

Seth Shostak, a senior astronomer at the SETI Institute in Mountain View, California, will be here to answer these and other questions as intelligently as—well, humanly—possible. Join us for a live chat with Seth at 3 p.m. EDT on Thursday, 3 May, on this page. You can leave your questions in the comment box below before the chat starts. The full text of the chat will be archived on this page.

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Seth Shostak

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