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Kimberly W. Land

(757) 864-9885

RELEASE NO. 98-089

Colloquium Reports on Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence

Abstract aliens abound on the movie screens, but in reality we still don't know if we share our universe with other sentient creatures, according to astronomer, Dr. Jill Tarter.

Tarter, director, Project Phoenix at the SETI (search for extraterrestrial intelligence) Institute will speak at a colloquium Tuesday, Nov. 3 at 2 p.m. in the H.J.E. Reid Conference Center, at NASA Langley Research Center. Dr. Tarter will give a history of the work Project Phoenix has done, and their plans for the future.

Since 1995, SETI's Project Phoenix has been using pairs of large radio telescopes around the world to conduct comprehensive searches for evidence of signals from other technological civilizations. They have now examined about half of an initial list of target stars with sensitivity adequate to detect signals as strong as their terrestrial radars coming from the most distant targets (155 light years).

Project Phoenix is also conducting a series of internal workshops designed to provide guidance for the next few decades. In the near future, project members will build new signal detection systems at a number of wavelengths and construct novel new arrays of antennas for continuous observing.

Dr. Tarter is an astronomer and one of the world's leading researchers in SETI. She is a founder of the SETI Institute in Mountain View, California, where she is Director of Project Phoenix, a privately funded search for extraterrestrial life using radio telescopes. Tarter received a bachelor of engineering physics from Cornell University and a master's degree and doctorate in astronomy from the University of California at Berkeley.

A media briefing will be held at 1:15 p.m. in the Wythe Room of the Reid Conference Center, 14 Langley Boulevard in Hampton. The general public are invited to the Sigma Series lecture at the Virginia Air and Space Center later that day, at 7:30 p.m.

Media who wish to attend the briefing should contact Kimberly W. Land at (757) 864-9885.

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