A lack of
funding has temporarily shut down a group of radio telescopes that are used to
search the universe for signs of extraterrestrial life.
The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence Institute,
or SETI, is located in Mountain View, California and is dedicated to searching
the skies for signs of extraterrestrial life through two separate SETI centers:
The Center for SETI Research, which looks for signs of extraterrestrial
technology, and the Carl Sagan Center for the Study of Life in the Universe,
which studies the origin and evolution of life forms on Earth and throughout
works with the University of California-Berkeley's Radio Astronomy Lab to
operate the Allen Telescope Array, which is a field of "dish-like
scopes" that is located 290 miles northeast of San Francisco, California.
There are 42 telescopes that are 20-feet wide, and worked 24 hours per
and development for the Allen Telescope Array began in 2001 after a healthy
contribution of $11.5 million came from the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation.
Then, in 2004, Microsoft Co-Founder Paul Allen donated $13.5 million to the
construction of these telescopes. The telescope array was completed and
functional in 2007, and it was named after Allen, who had contributed more than
$25 million by the end of the project.
reduced federal dollars and a state budget crisis have put the Allen Telescope
Array into hibernation.
On April 22, SETI CEO Tom Pierson sent a letter to donors saying that the
telescopes will temporarily be out of operation, and that SETI and UC
Berkeley's Radio Astronomy Lab will experience staff cuts.
last month, SETI has been searching for donations to help fund the Allen
Telescope Array project. According to Karen Randall, SETI's director of special
projects, the institute needs $5 million in order to continue operating at the
rate it has been since 2007. SETI has not discussed its financial woes with
Allen at this point.
is also planning to lay off four people, which will leave two people as support
the temporary shut down, there is a bright side. The Allen Telescope Array will
resume when the new round of funding goes into effect in 2013. That round will
assure that the project stays operative until 2018.
addition, SETI has other telescopes across the world that can be used while the
Allen Telescope Array is on break. For instance, radio telescopes are placed in
Puerto Rico, Australia and West Virginia as a way of "listening
to the universe."
we want to be prepared for these kinds of things," said Randall. "We
are working on some other angles that have bubbled up that will basically not
be so vulnerable to budget cycles."
quote: Too bad she isn't into dudes...
quote: After all, they almost certainly would have detected our transmissions by now and haven't identified themselves.
quote: Hawking is right though, do we really want other intelligent races to know that we are here?
quote: I assume if they're advanced and intelligent enough, they'll find out whether we want them to or not. Assuming it's intelligent life as we perceive it.
quote: Physicist Stephen Hawking, in his book A Brief History of Time, suggests that "alerting" extraterrestrial intelligences of our existence is foolhardy, citing mankind's history of treating his fellow man harshly in meetings of civilizations with a significant technology gap. He suggests, in view of this history, that we "lay low".-Wikipedia-
quote: Each Tomahawk missile fired on Libya cost ~$1.3 million, and 160+ were fired.
quote: Actually, each one was less than $500k since most of them were bought in the 1980s and have been sitting in crates and magazines since then.
quote: unmanned programs were yielding the vast majority of the science.