The SETI Institute in the news – Media overview. January 1 to 15, 2022

Hollywood science

Franck Marchis and Bill Diamond appeared on Have a nice day LA to weigh in on the scientific precision of planetary protection in a popular new film.

Bill and Frank discuss the scientific merits of Netflix’s new movie”Don’t look up” with Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence.

Speaking of asteroids…

Asteroid 1994 PC1 flew past Earth on January 18, 2022. Although it did not make an impact (this time), observing scientists can gather information about its morphology.

“It’s a rocky asteroid. It’s not made of material that will be rare,” [Franck] Marchis said. “It’s kind of a boring asteroid.”

Searching for megastructures in the universe

Radio signals and laser light are two possible indicators of extraterrestrial intelligence. Another research tool being developed is finding evidence of extraterrestrial megastructures.

“[It’s] essentially any man-made structure built by an intelligent civilization, perhaps for the purpose of energy harvesting,” Anne Marie Codyresearcher at NASA Ames and the SETI Institute, Recount Vice in a fascinating new interview.

LaserSETI at Haleakala

The observation of laser flashes takes a leap forward

The search for signs of other intelligences in the universe has been expanded with the installation of additional LaserSETI instruments in Hawai’i, allowing near-sky observation. Eliot Gillum performed the installation in person.

The expanding laser system complements older forms of SETI that listen to radio broadcasts or scan distant planets for visual evidence of present or extinct civilizations. Practitioners of the different modes of SETI – radio, optical and laser – are all trying to get their sensors to scan more of the sky for longer periods of time.

Illustration of a red dwarfRed Dwarf(s)

A new paper by UC Riverside astrophysicist Stephen Kane and colleagues describes the evolution of a planet’s “habitable zone” in relation to the evolution of the host star. This analysis had important implications for the search for life outside Earth. Red dwarfs, with their long lifespans, may be some of the best places to look.

“This article is interesting because they are trying to study the behavior of a star during the first tens of millions of years of its life. It would have been impossible to do when I was a graduate student,” [Seth] Shostak said. “Understanding how stars work tells you which stars to look for signs of life and which exoplanets should excite us.”

overall science

Join hosts Seth Shostak and Molly Bentley each week as they explore emerging science and technology research.

What are a few degrees?
Get ready for the “Lucifer” heat wave. Dangerous deadly heat waves may soon be so common that we’ll give them names, just like hurricanes. This is one of the dramatic consequences of an increase of a few degrees in average temperatures.
Also to come: massive heat “spots” forming in the oceans and damaging marine life, and powerful windstorms called “derechos” hitting the Midwest.
Additionally, do fungal pathogens adapt to warmer temperatures and cross the 98.6 F thermal barrier that prevents them from infecting us?

With guests Kathy Baughman McLeod, Pippa Moore, Ted Derouin, Jeff Dukes, Arturo Casadevall

In the depths
Have you ever heard worms argue? Deep-sea scientists use hydrophones to spy on “mouth-fighting worms”. It’s one of the many ways scientists are trying to catalog the diversity of the deep oceans – thought to be comparable to a rainforest.
But time is running out. While vast swaths of the deep sea remain unexplored, mining companies are ready with dredging vehicles to strip the seabed, potentially destroying rare and vulnerable ecosystems. Are we ready to eradicate an alien landscape we haven’t visited yet?

With guests Craig McClain, Steve Haddock, Emily Hall, Chong Chen

Following overall science the episodes can be found on


The SETI Institute hosts weekly interviews with leading scientists on social media. Recent Live SETI episodes include:

Coming soon: missions and curiosities of 2022
Although 2022 starts off as an extension of 2020 and 2021, there are still new missions to launch, more science to do, and all the usual sights in the sky to watch. Join Franck Marchis and Simon Steel as they give you a taste of what’s happening in space science this year.

Videos of all past Facebook Live events are available on our Facebook page, on our YouTube channel,