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Lee Billings, Sunday, 10-13-13 October 14, 2013

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Lee Billings, Sunday, 10-13-13


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Can Help Support The Space Show/OGLF (www.onegiantleapfoundation.org/amazon.htm)

Guest:  Lee Billings.  Topic:  Lee’s book and the topic, “Five Billion Years of Solitude: The Search For Life Among The Stars.”  Please direct all comments and questions regarding Space Show programs/guest(s) to the Space Show blog, https://thespaceshow.wordpress.com. Comments and questions should be relevant to the specific Space Show program. Written Transcripts of Space Show programs are a violation of our copyright and are not permitted without prior written consent, even if for your own use. We do not permit the commercial use of Space Show programs or any part thereof, nor do we permit editing, YouTube clips, or clips placed on other private channels & websites. Space Show programs can be quoted, but the quote must be cited or referenced using the proper citation format. Contact The Space Show for further information. In addition, please remember that your Amazon purchases can help support The Space Show/OGLF. See www.onegiantleapfoundation.org/amazon.htm.

We welcomed Lee Billings to discuss his new book, “Five Billion Years of Solitude: The Search For Life Among The Stars.”  During the first segment of our 90 minute program, Lee introduced us to the book and its main topic, plus he told us why he wanted to write this book.  He talked about his interest in the subject dating back to his childhood.  He also wanted to ask and explore questions like what makes exoplanets have a habitable zone, what about parallel universes, the multi-verse, and more.  He talked about finding O2 in the atmosphere and wondering if it would be replenished and does that mean life?  He talked about the need for big telescopes, in space on and Earth.  Listeners asked him several email questions about the Drake Equation, the Fermi Paradox and the Allen Telescope Array in N. California which is part of SETI.  Near the end of the first segment, Lee talked about competition in searching for exoplanets.  Also, we talked about the American public and policy makers under valuing space and the specific topics of today’s show.  Right before the break we took a call from John in Ft. Worth who put the search for life in the context of the laws of physics and the limits of technology.  John also brought up human factors, asking how that might impact the search for life.

In our second segment, Lee talked more about the Drake Equation and the old TPF program (terrestrial planet finder).  We talked about different possible pathways and the work of ESA and JAXTA,  Other topics in this segment included cross cultural analysis of who supports space and why, viewpoints other than the NASA viewpoint, then I asked him for his favorite interview in the book.  Lee mentioned several people included in the book but settled on Jim Kasting.  Listen as to why this person was his favorite.  Karen emailed in to ask if he asked his subjects how they thought confirmation of life other than on Earth might impact us here on Earth.  He was also asked for his view of progress ten years from now.  Our guest had much to say about this time line.  In his concluding comments, the question was asked about our being special or privileged.  Also, we need better opportunities for better stewardship of our planet.

Please post your comments/questions on The Space Show blog. You can contact Lee Billings through me.

Dr. Seth Shostak, Thursday, 3-8-12 March 9, 2012

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Dr. Seth Shostak, Thursday, 3-8-12


Guest:  Dr. Seth Shostak.   Topics:  The SETI Institute, SETI searches, and astronomy.You are invited to comment, ask questions, and discuss the Space Show program/guest(s) on the Space Show blog, https://thespaceshow.wordpress.com. Comments, questions, and any discussion must be relevant and applicable to Space Show programming. Transcripts of Space Show programs are not permitted without prior written consent from The Space Show (even if for personal use) & are a violation of the Space Show copyright.  We welcomed Dr. Seth Shostak back to the program for updates regarding the SETI Institute and SETI searches.  Learn more about SETI at http://www.seti.org.  Other websites of interest and that were talked about or mentioned on the program include SETILive at www.setilive.org; the Big Picture Science Radio program at www.seti.org/bigpicturescience, and SETIConII at http://seticon.com.  We began our discussion talking about SETILive and Citizen Science.  We talked about the SETILive website, the basics on looking at the signals in question, and more. This took us to the topic of the Allen Telescope Array (ATA) which now has 42 antennas operating with a plan for up to 350 antennas, each 20 feet across.  We compared this to the VLA inNew Mexico.  Dr. Shostak reported to us that the speed of SETI searches was increasing at a rate similar toMoore’s Law for computers.  Our guest then explained SETI search patterns and methodology.  Several listener questions came in including asking if SETI was better off with public funding, private funding, or a combination of both.  Seth suggested the combination but listen to what he said about each category.  Another listener asked about Optical SETI. Here, we learned that the SETI Institute was no longer doing it but that there was an excellent program for Optical SETI atHarvardUniversity.  This prompted another listener to ask about SETI programs around the world.  You might be surprised to learn just how many programs there are and their locations.

In our second segment, Jim fromAustin asked if there was any correlation to funding for SETI based on how well NASA does with its annual funding from Congress.  Dr. Shostak said there were no correlations but when SETI public funds were terminated in 1993, private funding stepped up to take over.  He also said that it appears SETI does better when related topics are in the news or the media, including TV shows such as X-Files.  Discoveries from Kepler and other space missions also play a part in driving support for SETI.  We then turned our attention to Active SETI, the idea of deliberately transmitting to space.  Dr. Shostak explained the controversy surrounding Active SETI but was supportive of it.  Terry called in to inquire about the protocol should a signal be discovered.  This brought up a review of the WOW signal matter, then we talked about student internships at SETI.Wayne fromSanta Fe emailed us about the ET worldwide culture which we discussed from several perspectives.  Other topics of interest included pseudo science, science and education, the study of astronomy, and the quality of majorCalifornia observatories given light and air pollution.  Near the end, John called in to ask if an ET starship using fusion or another form of energy/engine propulsion would leave a visible trail as a way of being detected.  Finally, we talked about incoming asteroids, the keyhole, and even painting an asteroid to deflect it.

Please post your comments/questions on The Space Show blog.  Dr. Shostak can be reached through the SETI Institute website.