Paul Allen Telescope Starts Looking For Aliens

from the et-phone-home dept

The initial portion of the Allen Telescope Array, a vast new array of radio telescopes, recently went live in Hat Creek, California. This array, funded in part by Paul Allen, is designed to scan the sky for any sign of extraterrestrial radio signals. The array is unique not only in the fact that it is the only array specifically designed to look for extraterrestrial life, but also in the fact that the many telescopes are designed using cheap, off-the-shelf components. By not using custom, one-off telescopes, the costs to construct the array of 350 telescopes was minimized greatly. Furthermore, in contrast to large single dish radio telescopes, like the 1,000-foot-diameter radio telescope in Puerto Rico, this array is faster and much cheaper to run. As a result, when completed, this array will be able to search for life at a million stars. Considering that the NASA's SETI project, Project Phoenix, searched 800 stars, this is a huge leap. That said, it is still a search for a needle in a haystack. Perhaps wiser-than-his-years Calvin of Calvin and Hobbes said it best when he proposed, "I think the surest sign that there is intelligent life out there in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us."


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

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    Nick, Oct 12th, 2007 @ 2:24am

    I'm sure the project organisers would agree that the probability of sucess may be very low. But the impact if it does find something!
    Quoting Arthur C Clarke from memory: We are alone in the universe or we are not. Either way the implications are profound.

     

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    Pedro, Oct 12th, 2007 @ 6:01am

    Radio Scopes

    It's about time Paul Allen did something useful with his money.

     

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    Overcast, Oct 12th, 2007 @ 6:14am

    That's kinda cool actually. Rare to see what can be considered 'good' news anymore.

     

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    Brian, Oct 12th, 2007 @ 6:24am

    Very cool.

    I was in Puerto Rico in '05 and could not leave without visiting Arecibo. What a cool place. Hopefully this new attempt is more sucessful...

     

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    norman619, Oct 12th, 2007 @ 7:11am

    This is silly

    We will encounter an alien civ before these guys ever pick up a varifiable alien signal. Since we can't rule out unknown natural radio sources as the source of appearant artificial signals so it's silly. People mistook the regular radio signals from pulsars as artificial. What other natural radio sources look like artificial signals?

     

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  6.  
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    Chris Brand, Oct 12th, 2007 @ 10:23am

    "the costs [...] was minimized greatly".

    Do you mean "reduced greatly" or "minimized" ?

     

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  7.  
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    Christian J,, Oct 15th, 2007 @ 3:31pm

    Aliens !

    As with SETI (suffering from neglect), I wonder if Allan will also waer the necessary item of headwear required for people undertaking that pursuit, a foil cap.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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