A Washington Post colleague, Joel Achenbach, recently interviewed Kaufman about his new book, First Contact: Scientific Breakthroughs in the Hunt for Life Beyond Earth. In the interview, Kaufman briefly discusses SETI (the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence), stating that he has “never been a fan or even particularly knowledgeable person about SETI.” He explains that, after walking through a SETI telescope array, he came to the conclusion that “if we’re in fact interested in trying to learn whether technologically evolved life exists out there,” we don’t have many alternatives to SETI’s current approach. However, he still feels that the SETI approach to searching for extraterrestrial life is “mostly a crapshoot.”
SETI made headlines this week following the announcement that, due to budget cutbacks, the institute was forced to suspend operations at their Allen Telescope Array.
Kaufman’s book, First Contact: Scientific Breakthroughs in the Hunt for Life Beyond Earth, was published by Simon & Schuster this month, and is in stores now.