The Past, Present, and Future of Searching for Extraterrestrial Life
Dr. Donald Goldsmith (Interstellar Media)

Half a century ago, Frank Drake began the first radio searches for other civilizations that may exist in our Milky Way galaxy, and also created the famous "Drake Equation" to classify our knowledge and our ignorance of the parameters involved in this search. At the same time, Philip Morrison and Giuseppe Cocconi published the first modern discussion of this subject as a scientific endeavor. Since then, an array of new telescopes, as well as more advanced analyses, have broadened humanity's efforts in the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI). To date, however, no reliable evidence has appeared for any forms of intelligent life beyond Earth. I shall present the conclusions that can be drawn from fifty years of SETI, as well as plans and hopes for these attempts in the near and intermediate future. This will include a discussion of who may fund--and who should fund--the search for extraterrestrial intelligent beings, and a consideration of what might occur once reliable evidence appears that the search has succeeded.

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