SETI Telescopes Back On, Thanks to 2,286 Alien Fans

Call for funds reels in more than $200K
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 10, 2011 7:45 AM CDT
SETI Telescopes Back On, Thanks to 2,286 Alien Fans
Astronomers at the SETI Institute in Northern California are resuming the search for extraterrestrial life after budget cuts turned off the Array in April   (AP Photo/Ben Margot, File)

Thanks to 2,286 people who believe aliens may be out there, SETI's search for radio waves that would prove there is intelligent life in the universe is once again a go, reports the LA Times. Budget cuts shut down SETI's Allen Telescope Array in April, but a call for crowd-sourced funds has brought in $206,133 as of today, surpassing the $200,000 goal. "Thank You for Your Support to Resume the Search," wrote SETI officials on their website, adding that they hoped to get things up and running by September.

But even $200,000 is not enough to fund the ATA's 42 radio telescope dishes, so SETI is also negotiating with the Air Force in hopes the Air Force will pay it to keep track of orbital debris. "We view this mission as one of profound importance, answering man's most fundamental questions—are we alone?" said SETI co-founder Tom Pierson. "Being off-air is something we needed to fix." Could we have missed our chance during the down-time? "You never know when or if a signal is going to be detected, so if you miss a few months, how important is that? It's impossible to know." (More SETI stories.)

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