Good news for those hoping to find aliens, reported by Deborah Netburn for the LA Times:
Citizens of the world: You are awesome. This week the SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Institute announced that it had raised more than $200,000 from a crowd-sourced fundraising effort that launched this spring. The money, which came from just over 2,000 people who want to keep the search for alien life alive, will help the institute put its Allen Telescope Array back online.
“We are so grateful to our donors,” said Tom Pierson, who co-founded the SETI Institute with Jill Tarter (the inspiration for Jodie Foster’s character in “Contact”). “We believe we will be back on the air in September.”
On the Setistars website, where the call for donations was originally placed, large red type proclaims: “Thank You for Your Support to Resume the Search!”
The Allen Telescope Array, or ATA, is a series of 42 linked radio-telescope dishes funded by a $30-million gift from Microsoft Corp. co-founder Paul Allen. Built at the Hat Creek Radio Observatory in a valley near Mt. Shasta, it is the first group of radio telescopes built from the ground up with the intention of monitoring the universe full-time for radio waves that would indicate there is life on other planets.
The ATA has been monitoring the universe consistently since 2008, but in April, SETI and its partner, the Radio Astronomy Lab of UC Berkeley, ran out of money and had to put the ATA into hibernation mode.
That’s when SETI turned to earthlings via the Internet, to see if they could help raise money to put the array back online.
So far, 2,276 of them have responded and the institute met its fundraising goal with days to spare. (Pierson notes that the institute is happy to collect additional donations.)
[continues in the LA Times]