We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.

— Oscar Wilde

SETI’s Best Chance: Find the Beacon

If we’re going to get lucky with SETI, it’s probably going to be through the reception of an interstellar beacon rather than the chance detection of an electronic emission from space. Sure, chance catches are possible, and for all we know odd receptions like the WOW! signal of 1977 might be cases in point. But we can’t confirm such signals because they’re one-shot affairs, whereas a beacon, designed to be received over interstellar distances, just might give us other options.