October 17, 2016 8:46 pm

Are you down with METI? Get the facts tomorrow from Dr. FunkySpoon and David Brin.

StarTalk All-Stars host David Grinspoon on left, and science fiction author David Brin on right. Credit: Ben Ratner.

(LtoR) StarTalk All-Stars host David Grinspoon and science fiction author David Brin. Credit: Ben Ratner.

If you’re a StarTalk fan, you’re undoubtedly familiar with the search for extraterrestrial intelligence, SETI.

But you may be less familiar with METI: Messaging Extraterrestrial Intelligence.

There’s a growing debate about the desirability of broadcasting our existence out to the stars, with luminaries like Stephen Hawking warning of the dangers of letting a possibly hostile and technologically advanced society know where we live.

This week, that discussion comes to StarTalk All-Stars, as our host, astrobiologist David Grinspoon, welcomes his friend David Brin to talk about the issues.

David Brin is the multiple Hugo award-winning author of science fiction classics including StarTide Rising, Sundiver, The Uplift War, Earth and The Postman. But he’s also a scientist who got his Ph.D. in space science, serves as a consultant to NASA, and, as we find out in this week’s episode, was on the committee that drew up the protocols for what to do if we ever do make contact with aliens.

The two Davids got together to discuss SETI and METI and to answer fan-submitted Cosmic Queries about communicating with aliens, chosen from our social media channels by co-host Chuck Nice. Not only that, but Chuck invented a new game you can play along with: “Brain of Brin or Dump of Trump,” where Dr. FunkySpoon tries to figure out if a particular quote comes from David Brin or from Donald Trump.

Games aside, though, in tomorrow’s episode you can find out why David Brin says the typical excuse used by METI supporters, the idea that we’ve been transmitting radio signals for long enough for aliens already to have found us, is “simply and scientifically wrong.” You’ll also hear why the plans to use planetary radar like Arecibo or Goldstone to send focused beams into space would increase the likelihood of our being found, for better, or for worse.

Decide whether you’re down with METI or not – join us for Calling ET, with Dr. FunkySpoon – StarTalk All-Stars, Tuesday, October 18 at 7pm EDT right here on our website, or on iTunesPodcasts, Google Play Music, SoundCloud, Stitcher and TuneIn. And of course, StarTalk All-Access subscribers will be able to watch or listen commercial free!

That’s it for now. Keep Looking Up!
–Jeffrey Simons