Calling ET, with Dr. FunkySpoon (Repeat)

Goldstone Deep Space Communication Complex in the Mojave Desert in California. Credit: NASA.

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About This Episode

Should we be revealing ourselves to the cosmos? What if the first aliens to discover us do so thanks to our own transmissions, and, more disturbingly, what if those aliens are less than benevolent? We’ve covered the SETI program on StarTalk before, but on this week’s StarTalk All-Stars, astrobiologist and host David Grinspoon also tackles METI, or “Messaging Extraterrestrial Intelligence.” To discuss the subject and answer fan submitted Cosmic Queries chosen by co-host Chuck Nice, Dr. FunkySpoon has invited David Brin, the Hugo Award-winning science fiction author, scientist and NASA consultant who was on the committee that drew up the protocols for what to do if we do make contact with aliens. You’ll learn why the “barn door excuse” – that we’ve already sent out radio and television transmissions that may have sealed our fate – is scientifically incorrect, but why new plans to use planetary radar like Goldstone (pictured above) to send focused beams into space would pump up the volume and increase the likelihood of being found. You’ll hear about the growing global discussion of whether the general public has the right to determine whether we broadcast our presence to the universe, or whether the “scientific elite” gets to decide humanity’s fate. Plus, play along with David Grinspoon as he plays Chuck’s new game, “Brain of Brin or Dump of Trump,” and tries to guess whether a statement was first uttered by David Brin or Donald Trump.

NOTE: All-Access subscribers can watch the “Brain of Brin or the Dump of Trumphere, or watch/listen to the entire episode ad-free here.

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