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Why I’m Listening for Radio Signals from Space

Bill Nye: Our intellect and treasure is really best used in exploring space.

The Planetary Society is the world’s largest non-governmental space interest organization, and for many years, over 30 years, we’ve supported the search for extraterrestrial intelligence.  The Planetary Society is the only organization now that does optical searches, so we have a telescope that looks, if you will, for laser signals from other civilizations, and you might say that sounds crazy. 

We support various radio telescopes including the only one in the southern hemisphere that listens for radio signals from other civilizations.  And you say well, you haven’t heard one.  That’s right.  But if we did, it would change the world.  So it’s a very, very high risk thing.  

There’s no guarantee, absolutely no guarantee of success, but I can assure you that we will never hear a signal if we don’t listen.  So that’s why we pursue this kooky thing.  So there’s people, 35,000 people around the world, that think this is cool, and they send us a little bit of money and we keep working.  So we want to get people involved in space exploration because, in my opinion, which as you know is correct, space exploration brings out the best in us.  It brings out the best what people do.  Our intellect and treasure is really best used in exploring space.

In Their Own Words is recorded in Big Think’s studio.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock


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