Life in the Universe – Astronomy and Planetary Science at the SETI Institute

Provides a 10 week opportunity to learn and research astrobiology in silicon valley.

Students will work with scientists at the SETI Institute and at the nearby NASA Ames Research Center on projects spanning the field of astrobiology from microbiology to planetary geology to observational astronomy.

The SETI Institute (www.seti.org), a non-profit private scientific research institution located in California’s Silicon Valley, invites you to apply for a summer Research Experience for Undergraduates program for highly motivated students interested in astrobiology research. You will work with scientists at the SETI Institute and at the nearby NASA Ames Research Center on projects spanning the field of astrobiology from microbiology to observational astronomy.

The program includes a week-long field trip to the SETI Institute’s Allen Telescope Array, located at the Hat Creek Radio Astronomy Observatory in Northern California, as well as a field experience at hydrothermal systems at nearby Lassen Volcanic National Park. Students will also participate in local field trips to places like the California Academy of Sciences and other nearby locations of scientific interest, and attend seminars, lectures, and discussions on astrobiology. You will live in dormitory housing near the campus of the NASA Ames Research Center and observatory facilities at Hat Creek. At the end of the summer you will give presentations on your research projects, and the best projects will be selected for submission to a national scientific conference, which the selected students will be funded to attend.

Two main research areas will be emphasized, with projects including:

  • Astronomy and the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI)
    • Meteor showers and their parent comets
    • SETI and radio astronomy
    • Extrasolar planets
  • Planetary Science and the Search for Life in the Solar System
    • Asteroid dynamics 
    • Mars geomorphology and spectroscopy
    • Survival of microbes under extreme conditions

Deadline Information

Application Deadline: Monday, February 1, 2021

Eligibility Requirements

2nd and 3rd year undergraduates

U.S. citizens or permanent residents