SETI Raises Funds To Prevent Shutdown Of Allen Telescope ArraySETI Raises Funds To Prevent Shutdown Of Allen Telescope Array

The search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI) had to shutdown the thirty million dollar Allen Telescope array in April.

The Oscar winning actress, producer, and directory, Jodi Foster, has helped SETI with fundraising to keep an array of telescopes searching for life on planets outside of Earth.  The SETI telescopes operate 24 hours per day, however, the program has been affected by the

economic turndown, and their fundraising was running low; thus, a fundraiser was instrumental in keeping them in operation.

Donors, including actress Jodi Foster, raised more than $200,000.  Ms. Foster was one among more than 2,400 people who contributed to the fund to save the Allen Telescope Array.  Ms. Foster played the lead rold  of an astronomer looking for proof of aliens in the 1997 film

Contact.  The screenplay was based on a novel written by Carl Sagan, who also supported SETI.

The 42 radio telescopes, in northern California, search space for potential signals from alien life forms.  Eventually, the array of telescopes will be expanded to 350 units, all receiving radio waves from space.  This is an enormous space listening research project.  It is named

the Allen Array thanks to funding from Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft.

In April 2011, the research project had been put into hibernation because of funding shortages.  The additional funding allowed them to continue collecting data from space.  Operating the array costs about one million dollars per year and one of the other founders, UC Berkeley,

can't continue supporting the research because of its own budget problems.

SETI was incorporated in 1984.  Since then it has received financial support from Carl Sagan, Gordon Moore, Paul Allen, David Packard, and others.  Government funding isn't used for the SETI searches, though related research conducted with SETI has received support.

The Allen Telescope array also contributes to research into black holes, pulsars, and magnetic fields in the Milky Way.

The SETI Institute says the fund would be enough to keep the telescopes operating until the end of the year, though the plan continues to be dependent on the institute receiving money from the US Air Force to track space debris that could damage satellites.
by Keith Marley
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