This comprehensive ebook compilation reproduces NASA documents and Congressional testimony about the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI) and cosmology. The first document is a 2014 NASA report, Archaeology, Anthropology, and Interstellar Communication, with fascinating insights into the history of the SETI concept, research efforts, and informed speculation about dealing with alien communications. Historically, most of the scientists involved with SETI have been astronomers and physicists. As SETI has grown as a science, scholars from the social sciences and humanities have become involved in the search, often focusing on how humans may react to the detection of extraterrestrial life. The present volume examines the contributions of archaeology and anthropology to contemporary SETI research, drawing on insights from scholars representing a range of disciplines. The remaining sections of this introduction provide a chapter-by-chapter overview of the book as a whole. As befits a volume published in the NASA History Series, this collection emphasizes the value of understanding the historical context of critical research questions being discussed within the SETI community today.
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Contents: Archaeology, Anthropology, and Interstellar Communication * Introduction * Chapter 1: SETI: The NASA Years * Chapter 2: A Political History of NASA's SETI Program * Chapter 3: The Role of Anthropology in SETI - Historical View * Chapter 4: A Tale of Two Analogues - Learning at a Distance from the Ancient Greeks and Maya and the Problem of Deciphering Extraterrestrial Radio Transmissions * Chapter 5: Beyond Linear B - The Metasemiotic Challenge of Communication with Extraterrestrial Intelligence * Chapter 6: Learning To Read - Interstellar Message Decipherment from Archaeological and Anthropological Perspectives * Chapter 7: Inferring Intelligence - Prehistoric and Extraterrestrial * Chapter 8: Anthropology at a Distance - SETI and the Production of Knowledge in the Encounter with an Extraterrestrial Other * Chapter 9: Contact Considerations - A Cross-Cultural Perspective * Chapter 10: Culture and Communication with Extraterrestrial Intelligence * Chapter 11: Speaking for Earth - Projecting Cultural Values Across Deep Space and Time * Chapter 12: The Evolution of Extraterrestrials - The Evolutionary Synthesis and Estimates of the Prevalence of Intelligence Beyond Earth * Chapter 13: Biocultural Prerequisites for the Development of Interstellar Communication * Chapter 14: Ethology, Ethnology, and Communication with Extraterrestrial Intelligence * Chapter 15: Constraints on Message Construction for Communication with Extraterrestrial Intelligence * U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on Science, Space, and Technology Hearings on Astrobiology and SETI * NASA Primer on Cosmology: The Study of the Universe
The United States pioneered the field of astrobiology, and currently leads the world in astrobiology research. Astrobiology is multi-disciplinary and inter-disciplinary and attracts physicists, organic chemists, biologists, geologists and astronomers, among others from around the world to the United States to conduct their research. While conducting research, individual scientists must verse themselves in a variety of scientific disciplines, while also collaborating with colleagues across scientific fields. Astrobiologists study microbial life in underwater lakes beneath Antarctica, living organisms that can thrive in extreme temperatures at the edge of volcanic fissures on the bottom of the ocean and bacteria that live in deserts in order to better understand the varied conditions in which life might exist in the diverse environments on planetary bodies in our Solar System and beyond.