SETI (the “Search for ExtraTerrestrial Intelligence”) refers to the experiments intended to find either radio or optical signals from extraterrestrial societies situated on planets around other stars. The largest radio telescopes world-wide have occasionally pursued SETI searches since 1960, in most cases hunting for signals near in frequency to 1420 MHz (the emission line of neutral hydrogen). Optical SETI searches have been pursued since the 1990s. These attempts to detect extraterrestrial signals are called “Passive SETI”.
In recent years, new kind of SETI, called “Active SETI” or “METI” (“Messaging to ETI”), has been discussed by radio astronomers and has actually been attempted in a few cases: it consists of deliberately transmitting signals to enhance the probability of making contact with other hypothetical galactic technological civilizations. In addition, the discovery since 1995 of more than 537 extrasolar planets makes it clear that both Passive and Active SETI may now be “targeted” towards exoplanets that are situated within habitable zones, further increasing the probability of a SETI success.
In conclusion, it is now timely to gather a large conference of experts in SETI, biosignatures, the search for terrestrial exoplanets and related disciplines from all over the globe to openly discuss the strategies of both Passive and Active SETI. These are the goals of the “Searching for Life Signatures” Conference that will take place at the Kursaal Conference Centre in San Marino Republic (Italy), Sept. 25th thru 28th, 2012, in the week just prior to the 63rd IAC (International Astronautical Congress) that will take place at Naples (Napoli), Italy, October 1st thru 5th, 2012.
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