Last Spring U.C. Berkeley pulled their funding from the SETI Institute which lead to the closure of the Allen Telescope Array, part of the Hat Creek Observatory. It has finally reopened and is once again searching the stars for a variety of objects thanks to public donations and interest by the US Air Force. SETI is not just about searching for radio signals from the stars, it has discovered pulsars and exoplanets as well as contributing to the search for water on other planets.
The interest shown by the Air Force has less to do with space aliens and more to do with the awareness of near earth objects such as satellites and orbiting ships. In among the data that would be collected by the array would be positional information of these orbital objects. The extra accuracy would hopefully allow much better predictions as to the time and location that objects falling from orbit will arrive on Earth, such as happened recently.
"MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA – The Allen Telescope Array (ATA) is once again searching planetary systems for signals that would be evidence of extraterrestrial intelligence. Among its first targets are some of the exoplanet candidates recently discovered by NASA’s Kepler space telescope.
“This is a superb opportunity for SETI observations,” said Jill Tarter, the Director of the Center for SETI Research at the SETI Institute. “For the first time, we can point our telescopes at stars, and know that those stars actually host planetary systems – including at least one that begins to approximate an Earth analog in the habitable zone around its host star. That’s the type of world that might be home to a civilization capable of building radio transmitters.”"
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