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Search for ET comes to Auckland

A NASA expert on the search for extraterrestrial intelligence will be giving a free public lecture at AUT University next week (Friday July 7).

Dr Jill Tarter, the director of the SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Institute of NASA will speak on the 'Search for extraterrestrial intelligence: pulling signals out of the cosmic noise.'

The mission of the SETI Institute is to explore, understand and explain the origin, nature and prevalence of life in the universe.

Dr Tarter will be visiting AUT University which is currently working to become part of the world's biggest telescope projects ever, the Square Kilometre Array.

The Square Kilometre Array project will create a telescope (effectively thousands of linked telescopes including two sited in New Zealand) that is 50 times more sensitive than anything that exists now and can survey the sky up to 10,000 times faster.

This will allow for tests of whether there is extraterrestrial intelligence and will be sensitive enough to search for signals no stronger than those generated for television.

AUT's Professor Sergei Gulayaev, the director of the Centre for Radiophysics and Space Research, is leading New Zealand in this project.

Dr Tarter has received a Lifetime Achievement Award from Women in Aerospace, two Public Service Medals from NASA and is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. In 2004, she was selected by TIME magazine as one of the world's 100 most influential and powerful people. Her work was used as the basis of the 1997 blockbuster film Contact .

The lecture will take place at 4pm on Friday July 7th at WA220 lecture theatre, AUT University, 55 Wellesley Street, Auckland.


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