Chugging on a meager sponsorship from the U.S. government, the SETI institute has announced its decision to discontinue the renowned Allen Telescope Array that comprised of a field of radio dishes.
Bright, but unlucky! (Image courtesy: Universe Today)
Over the years, the Allen Telescope Array had been scanning the sky expanses to dish out traces of signals from extra-terrestrial beings. Just last week, SETI issued a letter addressed to its donors announcing its decision, which seemed to be a tough one. It was just since a while ago that several encouraging developments began occurring – the discovery of 1,235 new planets by the Kepler’s telescope. Several instances as such had left the SETI officials hopeful, but lack of funding meant none of its projects could take off.
According to a statement by a senior astronomer from SETI, Seth Shostak, “This is about exploration, and we want to keep the thing operational. It's no good to have it sit idle.” As broken as he sounded, there is nothing taking back from the fact that adequate funding or the lack of it would decide the future of a study as crucial as this one. The program, in question, is located in U.S. Forest Service land near Mount Shasta. The telescope fixed there looks out for any sound that is not ordinary i.e. belonging to an extra terrestrial specie.
One of the early fund-raisers for SETI was Paul Allen, Co-founder, Microsoft Corp. The funds he provided ($50 million) was used by SETI to build 42 dishes. But, this all seems a lost cause now!