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Biol Sci Space. 2003 Dec;17(4):324-40.

[An encounter with extraterrestrial intelligence].

[Article in Japanese]

Author information

Institute of Space and Astronautical Science/JAXA.


It is much easier to find extraterrestrial intelligence than to detect simple organisms living on other planets. However, it is hard to communicate with such intelligence without the mutual understanding of inter-stellar communication protocol. The radio SETI (The Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence) was initiated with the pioneering work of F. Drake in 1960, one year after the historical SETI paper by Cocconi and Morrison. This talk explains that SETI evolves with two bases of science; the understanding of our universe and the development of technology. Since SETI has had strong connection with radio astronomy from its early beginning, the impacts of radio astronomical findings and technological breakthrough can be seen in many aspects of the SETI history. Topics of this talk include the detection of microwave 3 K background radiation in the universe. Interstellar atomic and molecular lines found in radio-wave spectra provide the evidence of pre-biotic chemical evolution in such region. Radio telescope imaging and spectral technique are closely associated with methodology of SETI. Topics of the talk extend to new Allen Telescope Array and projected Square Kilometer Array. Recent optical SETI and the discoveries of extra solar planets are also explained. In the end, the recent understanding of our universe is briefly introduced in terms of matter, dark matter and dark energy. Even our understanding of the universe has been evolutionarily revolved and accumulated after 1960, we must recognize that our universe is still poorly understood and that astronomy and SETI are required to proceed hand in hand.

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