Soul to the Stars
When you were a kid did you dream of exploring space? Did you watch and
read science fiction and wish it were you going off on all those
fantastic space adventures? Maybe, like me you avidly followed the space
programs and the astronauts were your heroes.
If the magic of space exploration is still with you read below. YOUR time
to be a space explorer has come!
Feet On the Ground
What Is It
It all revolves around helping SETI (Search for Extra Terrestrial
Intelligence) analize data they've collected from the radiotelescopes they
use. Since they lost the use of their supercomputers they're calling on
the people and business for assistance. Large numbers of individual,
family and corporate volunteers are giving SETI a hand by taking in data
units from the SETI server, allowing their computers to use 'spare time'
and free software to work on the units and sending them back to
SETI. It's slower than the supercomputers SETI once had, but it still
gets the job done. The project is called, SETI@Home.
Why Should You help SETI
How would you like to be the one whose computer first analized a signal
from an extraterrestrial civilization? You would be, in effect, making
first contact. Certainly the owner of the computer that first processes
this signal will become the one who answers the question once and for
all, 'Are we alone in the universe?'
Granted the chances of YOUR computer being the one that works on
THE signal are pretty small. Still if you run SETI's
free software the chance is there. It's the scientific method, not
science fiction. The possibility is real. There's no
denying that this is exciting and tantalizing.
Is This A Scam
Even those of us whose imaginations sail the solar winds of space have a
healthy streak of skepticism. It sometimes seems that everyone is out to
just plain get what they can from people.
One look at the corporations who have joined in the SETI@Home effort
should take care of any misgivings about SETI's legitimacy. These
companies wouldn't be taking part in the project if they thought they were
being scammed. They've researched the consequences of their involvement
and to them, it's business and the bottom line with the VERY useable
marketing opportunity of one of their computers processing the first
signal from a civilization outside Earth. What does it cost them? Same
cost private citizens pay...Nothing but allowing SETI@Home's
free software to run on their computers and report the results
of analized data units to SETI.
What If Aliens Invade
Fact is that Earth has been unintentionally sending signals out into space
since the invention of wireless telegraphy at the turn of the 19th and
20th Centuries. These radio signals have been escaping from our
atmosphere and travelling into space at the speed of light all this time.
While it's true that we've sent out signals with radiotelescopes to look
at other parts of space that was started long after we began broadcasting
official and entertainment radio frequency signals to ourselves. There's
nothing we can do about the transmissions that have already reached outer
space. It's far too late to worry about whether or not someone else in
our galaxy has heard us.
There's been speculation on what sort of beings might be on other worlds
that stretches as far back in recorded history is the 1700's. Will
extraterrestrials be friendly, hostile or will they simply not care one
way or the other? Would we lose our cultural identity if we contacted
them? Would they all be playing baseball a year after we met? Might we
one day talk and meet with no significant effects either way? No one
really knows and as our routine radio signals have already said we're
here, we might as well listen to see if these other civilizations are
really out there.
For good or ill we've already anounced our presence to anyone who might
happen to have been listening. SETI@Home is about LISTENING for
signals, not sending them out.
What You Need to Help
If you can see this Website you've probably got everything you need to
take part in SETI@Home. You don't need to send anyone any money. You
don't need a big, powerful computer. Basically all that's required is a
computer that can connect to the Internet and run the free
The SETI@Home program runs on Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows NT,
Macintosh, UNIX, Linux, OS/2, BeOS, MacOS X Server, OpenVMS and other
operating systems. This wide variety of choice means that almost everyone
with a computer that can get a PPP connection to the Internet can run the
You don't have to spend a lot of extra time helping SETI, either. The
SETI@Home programs can run as screensavers that come on when you're not
using your machine or they can run in the background as you run other
The programs themselves are made to be easy to install. Installation
usually takes only a few minutes and you're done. Changing how you'd
like the program to run on your machine is just as simple and there's
plenty of help available on the SETI@Home Website.
Your computer does NOT have to be connected to the
Internet all the time. The program will tell you when it's time to
connect to the Internet. Then the software will send in a completed data
unit and get another to work on. It's that hastle-free.
How You Get Started
Just click on the SETI@Home picture link below (text browser users click
on the 'Click Here to Join the Search!' link) and you'll be taken directly
to SETI@Home's Website where you'll learn all about how you can lend a
helping hand to science and be the space explorer you always wanted to be.
Other worthy endeavours & organizations to support are
Click Above for More Information.
Send an email to me or Return
to my Home Page.
SETI and SETI@Home are copyrighted names. Visit the appropriate Websites
for details. Top SETI@Home animated graphic by Robert Jones. SETI@Home
banner by Andreas Kleinke.