SETI suspends search for aliens

SETI operates the Allen Telescope Array which scans the heavens for a civilization beyond Earth.

Updated: Apr 26, 2011, 23:39 PM IST

Zeenews Bureau

New Delhi: In a big blow to man’s quest to search for life outside earth, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence Institute (SETI) has suspended the hunt for extraterrestrial signals owing to lack of funds.

SETI operates the Allen Telescope Array, the field of telescopes 300 miles north of San Francisco. It was jointly set up by SETI and University of California-Berkeley`s Radio Astronomy Lab.

Each of the 42 sophisticated radio telescopes is aimed at a different area of the sky. They scan the heavens and primarily study stars for non-naturally occurring radio signals that could indicate the presence of a civilization beyond Earth.

The network eventually is intended to have 350 telescopes.

Till now, funded largely by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, who donated more than $25 million to the project, and with a state budget crisis and reduced federal dollars, scientists working on the project had no other option but to suspend the search.

However, SETI CEO Tom Pierson is optimistic that the search will resume by 2013, the time by which new funds to the tune of $5 million are expected to be secured.