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Science  11 Sep 2020:
Vol. 369, Issue 6509, pp. 1288-1291
DOI: 10.1126/science.369.6509.1288

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Summary

Breakthrough Listen, a $100 million, 10-year, privately funded effort to search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI) is lifting a field that has for decades limped along on sporadic philanthropic handouts. Although Breakthrough Listen is bolstering radio surveys, which are the mainstay of SETI, the money is also spurring other searches, in case aliens opt for other kinds of messages—laser flashes, for example—or none at all, revealing themselves only though passive "technosignatures." Perhaps the most important upshot is that it has nudged SETI, once considered fringe science, toward the mainstream. After nearly 3 decades of eschewing SETI, NASA has organized a workshop on technosignatures and awarded a grant to model what technosignatures might be detectable in the atmospheres of exoplanets. But some astronomers have concerns that the funding boon is distorting science.

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