Extraterrestrial intelligence (often abbreviated ETI) refers to hypothetical intelligent extraterrestrial life. The question of whether other inhabited worlds might exist has been debated since ancient times. The modern form of the concept emerged when the Copernican Revolution demonstrated that the Earth was a planet revolving around the Sun, and other planets were conversely, other worlds. The question of whether other inhabited planets or moons exist was a natural consequence of this new understanding. It has become one of the most speculative questions in science and is a central theme of science fiction and popular culture.
In June 2020, astronomers from the University of Nottingham reported the possible existence of over 30 “active communicating intelligent civilizations”, or Communicating Extra-Terrestrial Intelligent (CETI) civilizations (none within our current ability to detect due to various reasons including distance or size) in our own Milky Way galaxy, based on the latest astrophysical information.
There has been a search for signals from extraterrestrial intelligence for several decades, with no solid results. Active SETI (Active Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence) is the attempt to send messages to intelligent extraterrestrial life. Active SETI messages are usually sent in the form of radio signals. Physical messages like that of the Pioneer plaque may also be considered an active SETI message.
Communication with extraterrestrial intelligence (CETI) is a branch of the search for extraterrestrial intelligence that focuses on composing and deciphering messages that could theoretically be understood by another technological civilization. The best-known CETI experiment was the 1974 Arecibo message composed by Frank Drake and Carl Sagan. There are multiple independent organizations and individuals engaged in CETI research.