archiv~1.txt: SETI Two latest Project Phoenix musings from Seth Shostak

SETI Two latest Project Phoenix musings from Seth Shostak

Larry Klaes ( )
Wed, 31 Mar 1999 11:57:35 -0500

To quote in part:

"Our favorite stellar targets are the yellow,
medium-sized stars that most resemble the Sun.
After all, we know of at least one case — our own solar
system — in which such a star has served as a power plant
for a biology-encrusted planet. So the Phoenix hit list has
hundreds of Sun-like stars on it, all within about 200
light-years distance.

"But our immediate neighborhood is special. After all,
signals from the closest stars would be stronger and easier
to detect. In addition, it might be possible to establish an
actual two-way conversation with any extraterrestrials that
are so close.

"So Project Phoenix makes a point of checking out all
stars within about 20 light-years - even the unappealing
dwarfs with fourth-rate climates."

To quote in part:

"Life at the telescope is like life at a monastery. There’s
little variation in either the routine or the food, and the
hedonistic diversions of the secular world (such as going to
the movies) are largely non-existent. An observer is on this
campus for one purpose only: To efficiently collect data.
Deal with it.

"The path doesn't go far before it dead-ends on
wooden stairs. There are 119 steps up the hill to Bachelor
Quarters No. 1, where I bunk. I know. I've counted them
every night.

"I recall that it was in one of these residences
that Jodie Foster and Matthew McConaughey spent a
romantic evening in “Contact.”

"In the movie, you see the outside of one of these nifty
bungalows, finely crafted of bare wood set on concrete blocks.
But the classy interior where Jodie and Matthew get to
know one another better was a Hollywood set. The inside
of the real bungalow lies somewhere between spartan and
functional, and is below minimum standards for romance."

Also see The SETI Institute's update site on Phoenix: