Astronomers from the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence Institute (SETI) assured the Congressional science committee that they would discover whether alien life existed in the Solar System within the next 20 years.
Seth Shostak, senior astronomer at the California-based institute, had a meeting with the House Science and Technology Committee to discuss funding. Officials stated that most of the search for extraterrestrial life and the money needed would go toward studying Mars and the moons in the outer solar system that showed potential to support life.
Searching for extraterrestrial or alien life in the solar system was just one part of the project. The second portion consisted of scanning for the presence of oxygen or methane gases in the atmospheres of distant planets – an indication of life on those celestial bodies. The third part was hunting for aliens that have the technological capacity to send radio or other space-bound signals and to eavesdrop on these signals that were believed to have originated in another world, either deliberately or accidentally.