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Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI) is the collective name for a number of activities people undertake to search for intelligent extraterrestrial life. SETI projects use scientific methods to search for electromagnetic transmissions from civilizations on distant planets.[1][2] The United States government contributed to earlier SETI projects, but recent work has been primarily funded by private sources.

There are great challenges in searching across the cosmos for a first transmission that could be characterized as intelligent, since its direction, spectrum and method of communication are all unknown beforehand. SETI projects necessarily make assumptions to narrow the search, and thus no exhaustive search has been conducted so far. Of course, the first great assumption is that other intelligent species, whose civilizations could be hundreds of thousands, or even millions of years old, and so with technologies far beyond our imagination, use EMR for communication at all.


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