New COSETI (main) email address now active: contact info
Old OSU email address will remain active for the next year or two: firstname.lastname@example.org
February 12, 2000
September 20, 1998
Optical SETI At Last Goes Main Stream
After eight years of revisiting and promoting the optical approach to SETI, reports in the media during the past month indicate that at long last, Optical SETI (OSETI) is being considered very seriously by the SETI establishment. It has taken 37 years for Charles Townes and Monte Ross to be taken seriously by the Microwave SETI (MSETI) community. Truly, science moves in slow and mysterious ways. No doubt, the continued negative result from the established MSETI programs has hastened the day when the community would seriously reconsider the underlining assumptions supporting Electromagnetic SETI. Optical SETI is now on course to become the most common form of Electromagnetic SETI within a few years, perhaps dominated by observatories in the southern hemisphere! Within the decade, it is my prediction that research funding for OSETI will dominate SETI activities. In 1993, I predicted that Project Phoenix's predecessor NASA program, first called MOP (Microwave Observing Project) and then HRMS (The High Resolution Microwave Survey) would, by 2001, become HRMOS (The High Resolution Microwave & Optical Survey). As you will know, HRMS was killed by Congress in October 1993, one year after it started, and was shortly reborn out of its ashes as the privatized Project Phoenix. Notwithstanding this glitch, Project Phoenix and its successors stands ready to fulfil the prediction. Perhaps now is the time for NASA administrator, Dan Goldin, to start reusing that bad four letter word "S E T I". One cannot speak seriously about NASA's Origins Program without mentioning the Electromagnetic Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence - be it microwave or optical.
I hope that there is now a sufficient consensus within the established SETI community that thoughtful consideration will be given to retro-fitting the HST and outfitting the new NGST, so that part of their respective observation times can be devoted to OSETI. In addition, perhaps the ideas I presented in EJASA and elsewhere, for Retrospective OSETI and for Daylight Optical SETI using obsolete professional observatories and Symbiotic Optical SETI using the new great telescopes of the world, will now be given serious consideration.
I am gratified that this OSETI campaign of mine, generally outside of the peer review system, has produced results. I believe that this web site, though only in its large consolidated format for just one year, has had a lot to do with "spreading the word". So guys, "What took you so long to realize that lasers just might be superior for free-space interstellar communications?". I think we should now expect that next year's Bioastronomy conference in Hawaii will have a significant OSETI content. I hope to undertake a two-week speaking tour of Australia and New Zealand next July or August. And then of course, there's SPIE's OSETI III conference in 2001. I now look forward to the "bandwaggon effect", when everyone in the established SETI community will have an OSETI project.
Over the years, Sir Arthur Clarke has been very supportive of my efforts to redirect
the thrust of human SETI searches. He knows a good idea when he sees it. Those
of you familiar with the writings of Arthur C. Clarke will
recognize the following concerning revisionist history:
2. It's possible, but it's not worth doing.
3. I said it was a good idea all along.
Here is a list of links to sites and organizations now supporting OSETI research:
When I have more time I intend to review these new OSETI activities and continue with uploading and formatting my archival materials.
Recent media articles on OSETI and MSETI:
September 28, 1998
November 14, 1998
During August, while I was vacationing with my family who were visiting from England, a substantial backlog of emails developed - some several hundred! If you've sent me a message in the past two months but have yet to receive a reply, rest assured that I will get around to it in due course. With some 20 to 30 emails received per day, it takes some effort to clear emails that require more extensive replies. Your understanding is appreciated.
December 16, 1998
The Columbus Optical SETI observatory signed an agreement with Ocean Optics to market their fiber optic spectrometers via this web site. This will be the first OSETI related product to be offered by the COSETI Observatory. Those OSETI enthusiasts, anywhere in the world, wishing to purchase a spectrometer for Optical SETI at a very competitive price, may do so from this site starting in February 1999. An e-commerce ordering system is in the process of being set up. It is intended that profits from the sale of any hardware or software via this web site will go towards supporting the on-going OSETI activities of this observatory.
February 7, 1999
Stuart Kingsley appointed as chairman of the Optical SETI Committee for The SETI League, Inc.
August 28, 1999
Bioastronomy '99 Meeting photo gallery now available for viewing.