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Questioning The Prime Directive
Topic: Alien Life
It has become somewhat accepted that an extrasolar contact could be interpreted as a good 'artificial' signal if it arose from certain branches of mathematics. If another galactic civilization decided to reach us, they would send a beacon of bleeps akin to the digits of 'pi' or only prime numbers.

Cracking the Stellar Primer
Topic: Alien Life
If an artificial signal ever were detected from another world, it would almost certainly be encoded or encrypted. Judging by isolated civilizations that contact each other's languages across time and space--such as the ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic writers and modern linguists.

Arecibo Chronicle
Topic: Alien Life
Getting the big picture in the search for life elsewhere is a challenging balance between technology and philosophy. The SETI Institute's Seth Shostak reports from the world's largest radio telescope, Arecibo, about new signal processing methods.

Mysteries of Wow
Topic: Alien Life
In August 1977, a sky survey conducted with Ohio State University's "Big Ear" radio telescope found what has become known as the 'Wow' signal. Registering an enormous signal strength, the shape of the signal had the characteristic rise and fall expected for its short 72 second lifetime.

Dyson's Long Shot
Topic: Alien Life
Renowned physicist Freeman Dyson, famous for his designs of grand energy collectors called Dyson's Sphere, has put down a public bet: life will first be discovered elsewhere not on a planet or moon, but someplace other than what we could recognize as terrestrial turf.

Star Light, Star Bright...Any Oxygen Tonight?
Topic: Alien Life
The possibility of complex life on other worlds may depend on green plant photosynthesis. But could this sunlight-dependent process evolve on worlds that orbit stars different from our sun?

What Does ET Look Like from 40 Light Years Away?
Topic: Alien Life
The Terrestrial Planet Finder (TPF) mission will have the technology to look for signs of life in the light reflected or emitted by planets orbiting nearby stars. But nobody knows exactly what signals life would emit. Clues from studies of Earth's early atmosphere are guiding the mission's technology development.

Aliens Depend on Time to Grow Brains
Topic: Alien Life
To understand how intelligence develops, we have only one example to study: the development of human intelligence on Earth. Since intelligent life took a long time to develop on Earth, some believe it will take just as long on other worlds.

Concerted Evolution
Topic: Alien Life
The rapid advances in genetic sequencing have allowed comparisons previously unavailable to those scientists who try to understand how such a complicated structure as DNA might have evolved. But communicating an entire organism compactly in code may require a more ancient art: the music of the spheres.

Homing Signals
Topic: Alien Life
Phoning home intergalactically may have one natural prerequisite if a civilization is hoping to connect: timing their precursor signal or 'ring' so that we might know that they're broadcasting. Dr. Robin Corbet, of the Universities' Space Research Association discusses his research findings on Synchronized SETI.
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