SETI, the search for extraterrestrial intelligence, has a new director.

For 25 years, scientists in Mountain View, California have been manning listening stations, hoping not to miss the moment aliens make contact with us humans. The place is known as the SETI Institute. It was inspired by the famed astronomer Carl Sagan. And the idea was to use radio telescopes to listen to the cosmos just in case.

Sagan’s first doctoral student was David Morrison, and this week he took over as the new head of the institute’s Carl Sagan Center for the Study of Life in the Universe.

I still miss Carl Sagan. I guess if he were alive now he’d have to invent a force field to repel all the political mud that rains on anyone who is too reality-based. Good luck to David Morrison, it would really rock if he actually got the extraterrestrial station of NPR. To read the interview live from planet Earth, go here.