The last several decades have brought an increasing abundance of evidence that the conditions we believe necessary for life to survive are common in the nearby universe. Extrapolating from the latest exoplanet discoveries, estimates put the number of planets in the Milky Way galaxy near a trillion, with perhaps 5-10% existing in the so-called ''habitable zone'' where liquid water could persist on the planets surface. However, it remains an open question as to whether or not life emerged in these environments, evolved in a similar fashion to life on Earth and perhaps developed a technological capability similar to humans.
The proposing team will conduct a series of sky surveys and targeted observation campaigns searching for electromagnetic indicators of extraterrestrial technology. These experiments will span the electromagnetic spectrum from 100s of MHz to 100s of THz and time scales from nanoseconds to hours, employing the largest and most sensitive telescopes on the planet to conduct the deepest and most exhaustive searches ever performed. The proposed searches will take advantage of separately funded novel instrumentation to venture into regions of spectral and algorithmic space wholly unexplored in previous searches for extraterrestrial intelligence. The experiments proposed include new 'piggy-back' sky surveys with the Green Bank Telescope and Arecibo Radio Observatory, targeted searches of known extrasolar planet systems observed during conjunction events, the first mid-infrared SETI observations ever performed and the first ever search for pulsed near-infrared lasers. Technology is currently the only known tracer of very advanced intelligent life, and the signal types sought are not known to arise from natural astrophysical phenomena.
A positive detection in one of the proposed experiments would stand among the most profound scientific discoveries in the history of human scientific exploration.