It was with great disappointment that I learned that due to diminished funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the state of California, SETI Institute’s search for extraterrestrial life is facing financial problems. The Allen Telescope Array (ATA) has been forced to close as SETI astronomers have been told that the the funding agencies can simply not afford the $1.5 million needed to continue their scientific work. The team had isolated 50 or 60 of those planets that looked promising for signs of life. The 42 radio dishes will now be turned off. The SETI have plans outlined on their website to raise the necessary funds to reinstate the ATA but it does seem tight-fisted to close down such an inspiring scientific project. Anyone wishing to donate can do so via here. No doubt the conspiracy theorists will come up with a good cover story to explain why the government that spends billions on defence is no longer supporting this endeavor.
I was there last summer when I popped into to say hello to Seth Shostak and Molly Bentley for an impromptu interview on their wonderful radio Seti podcast. I really hope this does not face closure as it is a really a topnotch podcast and Seth & Molly are fab.