Telescopes at SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Life) are once again operational and searching planetary systems for signals of possible extraterrestrial intelligence. Great news I know, better still some of its first targets are the exoplanet candidates recently discovered by NASA’s Kepler space telescope.
SETI’s Alan Telescope Array (ATA) had been in hibernation since April following the withdrawal of the SETI Institute’s former partner, U.C. Berkeley – the operator of the observatory in California where the ATA is located – due to budgetary shortfalls (yawn yawn).
New funding has recently been acquired for observatory operations allowing the ATA to resume observations and work to examine the thousands of new candidate planets found by Kepler, with the highest priority given to the worlds discovered that are located in their star’s habitable zone.
Resuming observations was possible thanks to the interest and generosity of the public who supported the institute’s research via the SETI website with additional funds being provided by the United States Air Force as part of their formal assessment of the instrument’s utility for Space Situational Awareness.
From Jill Tarter, Director of SETI Research: We are exploring once again, with renewed enthusiasm. While our work with the US Air Force to try to avoid future collisions in space will insure that the array is maintained in good operating condition, we will continue to have to raise the funds to conduct our SETI observations.
Awesome news! visit SETI here to find out more, donate too should you support the cause.