Between a budget shortfall in California and cuts in federal funding, the ongoing “Search for ExtraTerrestrial Intelligence” is going into hibernation mode this month. Mountain View’s SETI Institute has pulled the plug on the Allen Telescope Array, a field of radio dishes that scan space for signals from aliens.
Tom Pierson, CEO of SETI Institute, sent an email to major sponsors. “Effective this week, the ATA has been placed into hibernation due to funding shortfalls for operations of the Hat Creek Radio Observatory (HCRO) where the ATA is located.”
So, what is it going to take? With automakers, banks, and seemingly everyone else getting billions in bailout money, you probably think that continuing the search is something that would be on par with other bailouts.
“The bottom line is that it takes approximately $1.5M/year to operate the ATA, and at least an additional $1M/year to cover the cost of our SETI science efforts. Thus, right now, we are trying to raise $5M to cover a two-year search of the Kepler Worlds by Jill Tarter and her team,” Pierson explained.
“Assuming funding can be acquired, we plan to spend the next two years listening to the 1,235 exoplanet candidates that the Kepler mission announced in February. This fabulous opportunity represents a fundamental shift to be able to point.”
Help keep the search alive
We started looking at different things that get more funding than the $5 million it will take to keep SETI going, but it was too much. The number is so insanely low (from a crowdfunded perspective) that you don’t need comparisons. You don’t need to be convinced. If you’re reading this, you’re probably a fellow geek at heart and would love to see us continue the search.
Here’s how: donate.
Between the various social media sites and subscribers to this site, we should be able to make a dent in it. Get your credit cards out and just do it.
Why the search is pointless
We support the search. It’s important to keep our ears open for transmissions that may belong to “them.” It’s simply too small of a dollar amount to keep it going for us to let it die.
With that said, let’s face it. When “they” are ready to contact us, they probably won’t need us to find them. They’ll find us.
Live long and prosper, SETI.