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Spaced Out: SETI Shuts Down Telescope, Stops Search for Alien Life

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The Allen telescope array
The Allen telescope array
Courtesy of the ATA

Plans to contact ALF, E.T. and Mister Spock are now on indefinite hold, as the non-profit SETI (Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence) Institute has revealed plans to shut down its Allen telescope array, created to listen for signs of alien life in outer space, for lack of funds. 

Its 42-dish radio array is being be silenced after four years of use, effectively crippling the project due to tightening budgets. The telescope, initially co-financed by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, has failed to impress California’s cash-strapped politicians, who view it as a frivolous expense. Its unsuccessful conclusion is a crushing blow to global astronomers.

Until such time as public donations or possible project work that may be performed for the United States Air Force can replace previous government funding, the Institute is currently seeking public donations.

"There is a huge irony that a time when we discover so many planets to look at, we don't have the operating funds to listen," SETI director Jill Tarter recently told the San Jose Mercury News.

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