SETI shuts down alien-seeking radio dishes just as new planets are found
by Karen A. Kay
Just think -- if intelligent life exists on worlds beyond Earth, how many different Astrology systems there would be! Sadly, we may never find out because SETI Institute is shutting down its alien-seeking radio dishes.
SETI, which stands for Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, has made a mission of exploring the nature and prevalence of life in the universe since the mid-1980s. It’s best known for its Allen Telescope Array of radio dishes, which Jodie Foster made famous while playing a SETI researcher in the 1997 movie “Contact.”
Foster’s character, a scientist who believes in extra-terrestrial intelligence, was best known for stating if there aren’t other intelligent worlds out there, it would be“an awful waste of space.”
Problem is, the government thinks it’s an awful waste of money. As SETI CEO Tom Pierson told the Silicon Valley’s Mercury News, they’ve now put the radio dishes into hibernation mode because of inadequate government support.
The timing is ironic, considering recent news has been filled with reports about new planets and scientists becoming more supportive and open to the likely possibility of alien life. Seriously. This isn’t just the stuff of conspiracy theorists and UFO fanatics anymore.
Just this spring NASA astronomers announced they found 1,235 new planets, with somewhere between 5 and 50 of them being in a “habitable zone” like Earth that could possibly support life.
TIME magazine also ran an article this week about the booming field of “astrobiology,” and Washington Post news reporter Marc Kaufman has a new book titled “First Contact,” both detailing the fact that scientists are more confident than ever that life does exist out in the universe. In his book, Kaufman predicts scientists will discover life on other planets within this century.
Too bad without SETI’s alien-seeking radio dishes we can’t listen for it sooner. (SETI is asking for donations from the public if you want to help out, by the way).
What do you think? Is there intelligent life on other planets?