SETA (Search for Extraterrestrial Artifacts)

SETA (Search for Extraterrestrial Artifacts) is the theory and practical effort to find and detect the handiwork of extraterrestrial intelligence within the solar system. The term was coined by Robert Freitas and Francisco Valdes in the early 1980s and applied initially to the search for extraterrestrial probes, although the search for probes has more recently tended to be called SETV (Search for Extraterrestrial Visitation). SETA also includes the search for possible remains and relicts of extraterrestrial intelligence on the surface of planets and moons (see artifacts, alien). Significant contributors to this field, which has also been called exoarchaeology or xenoarchaeology, include Alexey Arkhipov and Mark Carlotto. Another branch of SETA, which focuses on possible past interaction between extraterrestrials and humans, has become known as the paleocontact hypothesis. Although SETA is really a subdivision of SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence), it has generally, and for no particularly good reason, been considered to fall outside mainstream activities in this field. A contributing factor to this exclusion from traditional SETI is the extensive fringe speculation, shading into pseudoscience and pseudohistory, that has built up around SETA.


A list of references for both SETA and SETV is given in the SETV entry.