The modern SETI era can be defined as beginning in 1959. In that year, Cornell physicists Giuseppi Cocconi and Philip Morrison published an article in Nature in which they pointed out the potential for using microwave radio to communicate between the stars. In the spring of 1960, a young radio astronomer named Frank Drake conducted the first microwave radio search for signals from other solar systems. Their work caught the attention of the Russians who then dominated the SETI field for nearly a decade, using nearly-omnidirectional antennas to observe large chunks of sky, hoping there were a few very advanced civilizations capable of radiating enormous amounts of transmitter power. No such luck.
At the beginning of the 1970's, NASA's Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California began to consider the technology required for an effective search. A team of outside experts, under the direction of Bernard Oliver, from Hewlett-Packard Corporation, produced a comprehensive study for NASA known as Project Cyclops. The Cyclops report provided an analysis of SETI science and technology issues that is the foundation upon which much subsequent work is based.
By the late-1970s, SETI programs had been established at NASA's Ames Research Center and at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California. These groups attempted to examine 1,000 Sun-like stars in a Targeted Search, capable of detecting weak or sporadic signals as well as systematically sweep all directions in a Sky Survey. In 1988, after a decade of study and preliminary design, NASA Headquarters formally adopted this strategy, and funded the program. Four years later, on the 500th anniversary of Columbus' arrival in the New World, the observations began, however, within a year, Congress terminated funding.
More recently, (1994 - 2004) the Center for SETI Research at the SETI Institute was funded entirely by donations from individuals and grants from private foundations. In 2005, a NASA grant was awarded for work on signal detection for the Allen Telescope Array. Donations and non-governmental grants still comprise the vast majority of funding for the Center.
SETI asks the questions, "What if space alien's landed? Would it be War of the Worlds, Independence Day, or The X Files?" SETI representatives believe Sundance Film Festival Danish director Michael Madsen lays out "a more cerebral storyline, and one that might be more realistic.
In The Visit, a fictional piece presented as documentary, real scientists, politicians, military types, and United Nations officials sit behind their stunningly neat desks and mull over what to do about a house guest who's arrived from the stars."
The movie portrays officials in complete control, the visitor almost a bystander, offering no risk, threat, or it seems, benefit. The focus of the film seems to be our reaction, as if, the visitors, or guests, simply await our apparent wisdom-fueled reaction to their arrival.
SETI researchers are in fact, so sure extraterrestrials are just blithely unaware of our awesome existence and will surely be so wowified to discover we exist they are pushing for a cease of passive listening for life elsewhere in leui of an aggressive attempt to initialize contact ourselves, kind of a celestial doorbell... a really annoying, in your face kind of doorbell.
To date the only known space messages sent out from the earth have been a graphic message was sent into space by the Arecibo radio telescope in the 1970s, a radio message broadcast from the Arecibo telescope in Puerto Rico toward a cluster of stars 25,000 light-years away, in 1974, and in 2008, Doritos company sent an advertisement from a radar station in Norway to a potentially habitable star system 42 light-years away. Because any decent space alien has got to be craving some cool ranch Doritos, y'all.
Other researchers seek a more cautious approach, demanding an international consensus before "outing" Earth to the rest of the universe.  Scientists in both camps faced off on February 12, 2015 at a debate held at a meeting of AAAS (which publishes Science:)
"Advocates for active SETI say that keen-eared aliens could already pick up some of Earth’s ambient transmissions. Current radio and TV transmissions could be heard only a few light-years away with the current radio telescope technology on Earth, but Vakoch says that an advanced civilization would have far more developed techniques for listening. Brin says this is the “barn door excuse” and adds that many active SETI techniques would send out focused, powerful messages that would travel many times farther than the day-to-day transmissions from Earth. He views active SETI messages as cosmic pollution, rather than exploration. Although he’s not worried about alien invasions, he thinks the assumption of benevolence—or even the existence of aliens—is overstated."
Did I actually hear a voice of reason? The assumption of benevolence is overstated? To my understanding, there has not been one instance of a benevolent meeting between "alien creatures" and human beings. There have been multiple encounters with people who have reportedly been kidnapped, examined, physically violated, and even claimed to have had unborn children removed from their wombs.
Similar to the belief in evolution, despite the magnitude of evidence pointing elsewhere, SETI researchers seem determined to force their ill-advised agenda on the world at large, seeking to increase communication and interaction with beings that thus far, have shown themselves to be nothing but malevolent.
Despite the evidence to the contrary, people want so badly for someone other than a moral and just God to have designed, created, and ultimately to judge this planet and those that dwell on it, that they are more willing to reach out to an "unknown" and definitely self-serving force that surely, will allow humans to also serve themselves, thereby deceiving themselves to their very doom.
1. SETI.org. Web. Accessed on 2015/03/07
2. Hand, Eric. Researchers call for interstellar messages to alien civilizations. Sciencemag.org. 2015. Web. Accessed on 2015/03/07 http://news.sciencemag.org/space/2015/02/researchers-call-interstellar-messages-alien-civilizations