August 12, 2017 8:23 pm

Searching for Aliens, StarTalk Style

Should we be sending out signals into the cosmos? What if we contact aliens and they aren’t friendly? What if turns out to be the most dangerous thing humans have ever done?

This week on StarTalk All-Stars we’re talking about “Messaging Extraterrestrial Intelligence” and to do that we revisited our season 1 episode Calling ET, with Dr. FunkySpoon. Astrobiologist and host David Grinspoon welcomes co-host Chuck Nice and David Brin, award-winning science fiction author, scientist, and NASA consultant for protocol on contacting aliens, to discuss METI and answer fan-submitted Cosmic Queries.

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

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

You’ll hear about using planetary radar to increase our likelihood of being found, whether the general public should have the right to decide if humans should be contacting aliens, why the notion of already sent out transmissions sealing our fate is incorrect, and much more.

After revisiting this episode, I really wanted to re-watch the film Contact. And if you’re feeling the same inclination don’t forget there are other StarTalk episodes that pair nicely.

The first one is the StarTalk Radio episode The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, with Jill Tarter where Neil deGrasse Tyson and Jill Tarter, former director of the SETI Institute discuss searching for ET, how Jill was the possible basis for Ellie Arroway, Jodie Foster’s character in the film Contact, and much more.

We also have the StarTalk All-Stars episode Listening for Aliens, with Carolyn Porco where Carolyn also ponders the questions of “Should we be making contact?,” and, “Who speaks for Earth if we make contact?”. These questions are ones that not all scientists share the same answer.

By no means are these the only episodes StarTalk has ever done on the scientific search for alien intelligence. Way back in Episode 3 of our first season, Neil invited SETI senior astronomer Seth Shostak on the show to discuss The Search for Aliens. Seth has since gone on to become a StarTalk All-Stars host, most recently discussing UFOs and Possible Aliens – although that show, with comic co-host Ray Ellin and skeptic skeptic Ben Radford, is more about the truth behind unidentified flying objects, alien abductions and the Roswell coverup than SETI and METI.

So to recap, if you enjoy discussing the search for extraterrestrial intelligence and debate on how we should do it, the StarTalk Podcast Network has got you covered.

You can find all these episodes right here on our website, as well as on our StarTalk Radio and StarTalk All-Stars channels on Apple Podcasts, SoundCloud, Stitcher, Google Play Music, and TuneIn. And if you’re an All-Access subscriber, you can watch or listen to these episodes ad-free.

That’s it for now. Keep Looking Up!
–Ian Mullen