Dear Member,

For nearly a quarter century, The Planetary Society and
its Members have been lonely champions of the Search for
Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI). When government
support was eliminated, we stepped in. We funded the most
innovative searches on Earth — searches that could one
day prove the existence of intelligent life elsewhere
in the universe.

But to date, every SETI effort has shared one thing: our
searches have been based here on the surface of our planet,
beneath the blanket of our atmosphere. Certain kinds of
signals cannot penetrate that atmosphere, and so they are
not being monitored at all…indeed, they have never
been monitored.

Now, a remarkable new SETI opportunity is beckoning:
a way to dramatically increase the power of our search
by sending an advanced SETI detection system above our
thick atmosphere and into space.

Indeed, Space-Based SETI is a truly revolutionary step
in our search for life beyond Earth…and you and I and
Society Members across the globe have the chance to be
in at the absolute ground floor.

Your part in this is easy: simply help us replenish and
fortify the Society’s SETI Fund, the principal resource
we use each year to both maintain and expand our
comprehensive SETI network.

Help the search continue at:

Why Space-based SETI? There are large sections of the
“light” spectrum that don’t penetrate through our
atmosphere. No matter how much we look from the surface
of Earth, we can’t see signals in these wavelength ranges.

For example, a civilization could broadcast at infrared
or at millimeter wavelengths. Whole sections of these
parts of the electromagnetic spectrum are absorbed by
Earth’s atmosphere. Theoretically, such transmissions
would be at least as practical as using radio waves or
visible light, the focus of our traditional SETI
efforts. But we’ve never before had the option of
monitoring them.

So here’s where a SETI system in orbit would make
all the difference. Free of any interference from the
atmosphere, it could watch for signals continuously…
and watch for them across a far greater range of

To get the ball rolling, we’re organizing a major
international workshop to bring together the leading
SETI thinkers. Their goal will be to design experiments
that will take this field literally into orbit and vastly
extend this critical scientific endeavor.

Since Space-Based SETI is almost completely brand new,
The Planetary Society has a lot of work to do before it
becomes do-able…but who better to facilitate this
revolution in SETI? It will, of course, be the Society
and its SETI Fund — with your contribution — that
makes this crucial early groundwork possible.

Support the SETI Fund at:

As we start into a new year, it’s important that this
key workhorse, our SETI Fund be strong. Right now, it
isn’t. The usual expenses of operating our SETI programs
in 2004, combined with exceptional costs associated with
trying to complete our incredible new Optical SETI
telescope at Harvard, have stretched it perilously tight.

The thing you need to keep in mind is that, these days,
SETI — in the U.S. and in other nations — depends
almost entirely on private citizens like you and me
working side by side with grassroots-based organizations
like The Planetary Society. Absent from this incredible
adventure are the world’s governments.

NASA remains, to this day, legally barred by Congress
from meaningfully participating in any SETI efforts.
So, too, in other nations: around the world, governmental
funding for SETI has been rare and erratic.

But where other supporters have come and gone,
The Planetary Society has been an unwavering champion
of the search. We’ve been the innovators, pushing the
envelope, daring to dream what might be possible.

But support of Space-Based SETI will come on top of the
support the Fund already provides to our rich array of
ongoing projects: SETI@home, META II and, of course,
Optical SETI.

As always, our projects continue to advance…but all,
also, are hampered by the constraint of tight budgets.
And the one thing we are sure of is this: the resources
we need can only come from one place. Not from government
grants, corporate grants, or anywhere else…but only
from you.

That’s appropriate. We’re a true grassroots organization.
We exist only because visionary citizens such as yourself,
people who hunger for new knowledge and new explorations,
choose to participate. We exist because people like you
reach into their pockets and proudly make it happen.

I urge you to do so again, today. Please help us beef up
the SETI Fund for the coming year by sending your most
generous special contribution…today. Thank you.


Louis Friedman
Executive Director

P.S.Your support for the SETI Fund can pay huge dividends —
and not just for space exploration. IBM, in partnership
with the United Nations, the World Health Organization
and other groups, just announced a project that is a direct
off-shoot of the Society’s groundbreaking SETI@ home project.
The World Community Grid will, like SETI@ home, harness the
unused computing time of millions of volunteers to speed
scientific discovery in health, meteorology and other areas.

YOU helped prove this was possible. So please, continue
to make scientific discovery happen with your generous
contribution to the SETI Fund.