The Madeleine Brand Show for December 6, 2011

SETI returns to train its telescopes on a likely target

NASA's Kepler Mission Discovers Planet

Handout/Getty Images

In this handout illustration made available on December 5, 2011 by NASA, the Kepler-22b, a planet known to comfortably circle in the habitable zone of a sun-like star is digitally illustrated. Clouds could exist in this earth's atmosphere, as the artist's interpretive illustration depicts.

NASA has released news of a "Goldilocks" planet, Kepler-22b. For the first time NASA's Kepler mission has confirmed a planet to orbit in a star's habitable zone; the region around a star, where liquid water, a requirement for life on Earth, could persist. But at 600 light years away, we won't be sending exploratory missions up there any time soon.

Luckily, SETI is back - that's the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence. Based in Mountain View, California, SETI uses powerful radio telescopes to search for signs of life in outer space. The project was shut down in April because of a lack of funding, but they'll be using their telescopes to look in the direction of the new planet as the search for life in space continues. Seth Shostack, senior astronomer at SETI discusses the research institute's future.


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