Originally posted on TED Blog:
Astronomer Jill Tarter wants us all to ask the question, “Are we alone?” As director of the SETI Institute (it stands for the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence), Tarter is dedicated to seeking the answer, as well as to imparting upon one and all the importance of the search. In 2009, Tarter was awarded the prestigious TED Prize and founded the website SETILive.org, where people from around the world can register and help with the hunt for alien signals. Tarter’s wish: to “empower Earthlings everywhere to become active participants in the ultimate search for cosmic company.” Ruling out extraterrestrial intelligence at our current point of research, Tarter says, would be akin to scooping one glass of water from the ocean and concluding that there are no fish.
In the three years since Tarter’s TED Prize, the SETI Institute has continued its search, amassed a huge wealth of data and even begun identifying Earth-like planets. They’ve also continued their mission of outreaching their message and educating the public about the full scale of possibilities out there. To that end, Tarter created the TED-Ed lesson, “Calculating the Odds of Intelligent Alien Life,” stressing the full scope of how much is left to be discovered.