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SETI

  1. SETI Researcher Discovers New 14th Moon of Neptune

    The tiny satellite -- just 12 miles across -- is practically invisible, and was even missed by the Voyager probe.

    As we discover more and more amazing features of space -- like mind-bogglingly massive baby stars and exoplanets that could one day be a new cradle for humanity -- it's worth remembering that we still have plenty of things to learn about our own little corner of the cosmos. The face of our solar system got a new wrinkle this week when NASA announced the discovery of a new moon in orbit around Neptune. The tiny satellite -- just 12 miles across --  is the fourteenth to be found orbiting the icy outer planet.

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  2. It’s Still Not a Planet, But You Can Name Pluto’s Moons!

    Our old friend Pluto may still be sore about its demotion from a planet to an ice dwarf, but the good news is that we can name its moons. Two of them, anyway. Today, the SETI Institute has opened up the official naming to the public. Keep reading to learn what names are out to an early lead and how you can put your two cents in.

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  3. Directed SETI Search of 86 Star Systems Comes Up Empty-Handed

    The results of a three-month long directed search of a small patch of sky by researchers at the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) are officially in, and they are disappointing. Well, disappointing for anyone who was hoping they would come back showing some glimmer of intelligent life elsewhere in the galaxy. If you're particularly worried about alien invasions, though, you can sleep peacefully for at least one more night, as a close survey of 86 stars turned up none of the signals indicative of life that the SETI scientists were looking for.

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  4. SETI Needs Your Eyes to Scan the Skies for Alien Life

    People have been turning over their computer's processor power to the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) with SETI@home for years. However, this was a passive affair, and didn't really give folks an involved role in the hunt for E.T.. However, a new project called SETI Live launches today, and it needs your pattern-searching eyes to help track down possible signals from another world in a section of previously ignored radio data.

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  5. SETI Suspends Search for Alien Life Due to Lack of Funding

    The SETI Institute, that nifty organization that searches for extra-terrestrial life, claims that due to government cutbacks, it does not have the funds to sustain the search for alien life anymore, dooming Earthlings to find out about an alien invasion once we're already enslaved.

    On top of this suspension of SETI's search for alien life, the large field of radio dishes that SETI used to search for signals will be going into hibernation. Sad day for people who were hoping intelligent alien life would be discovered in their lifetime, at least, the kind of discovery that doesn't involve us being invaded.

    (via ReadWriteWeb)

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  6. World’s Largest Radio Telescope Plans Announced

    On Sunday, plans were announced for what will be the world's largest radio telescope: The Square Kilometer Array, or SKA. Once built, the thousands of radio detectors that make up the SKA will act as one giant radio telescope over 1km wide. A $2.1 billion project, the array will give scientists an unprecedented view of the early universe, allowing them to investigate early galaxy development, dark energy, and the properties of super-massive black holes, among other subjects. In addition to subjects of deep physics, the SKA will also be a new tool in the search for extraterrestrial life. The size of the SKA will make it easier to observe developing planets, and learn how Earth-like planets came to be. It can also search for radio signals from other worlds, some as weak as television signals. And with the SKA's size and sensitivity, it will be able to observe 1,000 times more of the galaxy and in a greater range of frequencies. Unlike other arrays of radio telescopes, like the Very Large Array, the SKA will consist of three types of detectors. The first are 3,000 15 meter wide radio dishes we're used to seeing, as well as sparse and dense aperture arrays. The combination of detectors will allow the SKA to observe frequencies from 70 MHZ to 10 GHZ. Additionally, the SKA will use a unique arrangement of radio wave receptors, with a dense inner core and detectors spiraling outward in five arms some 3,000 km away from the central core. Originally conceived in 1991, the SKA is hoping to be partly operational by 2020 and fully operational by 2024. In the meantime, both Southern Africa and Australia have constructed testbed telescopes and are competing to be the final location for the array. A selection is expected to be made by 2012, with construction beginning in two phases afterward. Though it is still a long way off, and many years in the making already, the scientific potential of the SKA seems truly remarkable. (SKA via Fox News)

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  7. Geekolinks: 7/12

    Behind the scenes of bioprinting (Wired)

    Crowdsourcing the search for aliens (O'Reilly Radar)

    Sweet: Track the price history of Steam games (Steam game sales)

    How one man outsmarted The Price Is Right (Esquire)

    Disturbing update on Steve Perry homicide case (WTF Japan Seriously)

    Finally: Beer-filled flashdrive (Mulher Cerveja Futebol)

    Real-life Portal companion cube (TDW)

    (Title image via RedCafe)

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  8. NASA Drafts Our Prime Directive

    NASA has an Office of Planetary Protection. It's where the Officer of Planetary Protection works. And that may be the most awesome thing I've heard all week. Goodnight everybody! ...Just kidding. But there really is an Office of Planetary Protection at NASA, and its job is to keep us from irretrievably screwing up interaction between terrestrial life and extra-terrestrial life (or possible extra-terrestrial life). Boing Boing has an article up about the ever-changing job of creating the protocol that we use to avoid horrible science fiction disasters.

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