Our missionTo understand how and, equally importantly, why we search. The history of human awareness of the universe has brought a steady increase in our desire to find the roots of our existence and to understand how humans fit into the cosmos. We now stand at the thresthold of determining how life arose on this planet, and of applying what we know about life on Earth to our quest for life on planets that orbit other stars. But we should pause to ask some key questions: Why do we search? How has the search for our origins, and for evidence of our cosmic kin, proceeded in the past? And what does the search for extra-terrestrial life tell us about our attitude toward the universe around us?