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Published October 12, 2009, 08:58 AM

Using technology to search the universe

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - From nano-science to working on Mars and the Moon, Senator Dorgan’s Milestones and Horizons conference got underway at Fargo's Holiday Inn today. This marks the 7th year of the Red River Valley Research Corridor, an effort to bring high tech companies to North Dakota.

By: Kevin Wallevand, WDAY

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - From nano-science to working on Mars and the Moon, Senator Dorgan’s Milestones and Horizons conference got underway at Fargo's Holiday Inn today. This marks the 7th year of the Red River Valley Research Corridor, an effort to bring high tech companies to North Dakota.

Nationally known experts from the high tech medicine, business, and science world spoke to more than 500 people attending the conference. WDAY’s Dana Mogck moderated the event which Senator Dorgan calls a chance for North Dakota to show case world class cutting edge research.

“But you begin to see it in start up companies and you begin to see it in the terms of the kinds of people who are coming back to North Dakota to work in North Dakota and who did not have the opportunities to do that.”

Tonight's keynote speaker is Minnesota's own Dr. Michael Osterholm, a world renowned expert on vaccines and infectious disease.

Another one of the keynote speakers at today's conference brought everyone out of their comfort zone. Dr. Jill Tarter is the Director of SETI, the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence and she praised the Red River Valley Research Corridor for helping grow technology that could even help Tarter answer the biggest question of all, is there life out there?

Hollywood has brought it all home to us. Only in movie theatre can we witness what so many have wished for, seeing and meeting the extra terrestrial.

“That allows us to have some of the world to search and to help us to search.”

Dr. Jill Tarter, who runs the SETI Institute, a respected center that uses language, telescopes, and computers speaks on trying and find life beyond our borders. In fact Hollywood has based movies on Tarter's work.

“You are a product of the cosmos and from space you cannot see the boundaries that have scratched on this planet.

For centuries we have asked ourselves, is there life out there? While Dr. Tarter has heard from those people who have met aliens, she is not quick to bite on ET.

“My reaction is to show me the data. Where is the evidence? What have you got? Why should I believe your story?”

Tarter would like nothing better than to see her telescopes and computers intercept that message. Something from outer space that will finally confirm once and for all, what Hollywood has tried for years.

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