Wednesday, April 27, 2011

SETI Slashed

The economic downturn and budget cuts have, at least temporarily, halted the largest and most sophisticated search for radio signals from alien civilizations. The SETI Institute has closed its Hat Creek, California, facility of 42 radio telescopes due to funding problems.

The SETI Institute is a non-profit which gets part of its money from the National Science Foundation; Congress has cut the NSF budget. Another part of SETI funding comes from the University of California-Berkeley, which has had to cut its support due to California's state budget woes. That leaves SETI dependent upon private foundations and individual donors.

The Institute is currently talking to the U. S. Air Force about USAF funding in exchange for using Hat Creek to help track space debris-- a far cry from the facility's original, dedicated purpose.

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