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Weekend NewsFlash: US Astronomers Launch New Search for Advanced Alien Life on 86 Planets

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A massive radio telescope, the powerful Green Bank Telescope at the very cutting edge of radio astronomy technology in rural West Virginia has begun listening for signs of alien life on 86 possible Earth-like planets, US astronomers said Friday. Selected from a list of 1,235 possible planets in the Kepler mission star field shown above -- the effort will gather 24 hours of data on each one. The mission is part of the SETI project, which stands for Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence, launched in the mid 1980s. The 17 million pound (7.7 million kilogram) telescope became operational in 2000 and is a project of the NSF's National Radio Astronomy Observatory.

"It's not absolutely certain that all of these stars have habitable planetary systems, but they're very good places to look for ET," said University of California at Berkeley graduate student Andrew Siemion.

Last month the SETI Institute announced it was shuttering a major part of its efforts -- a 50 million dollar project with 42 telescope dishes known as the Allen Telescope Array (ATA) -- due to a five million dollar budget shortfall.

ATA began in 2007 and was operated in partnership by the UC Berkeley Radio Astronomy Lab, which has hosted several generations of such experiments. It was funded by the SETI Institute and the National Science Foundation (NSF).

With ATA's dishes on hold, astronomers hope a previous incarnation of which was felled in a windstorm in 1988, will provide targeted information about potential life-supporting planets.

"We've picked out the planets with nice temperatures -- between zero and 100 degrees Celsius -- because they are a lot more likely to harbor life," said physicist Dan Werthimer, who heads a three-decade long SETI project in Puerto Rico, home of the world's largest radio telescope, Arecibo. However that project could not observe the same area of the northern sky as the Green Bank telescope, he said.

"With Arecibo, we focus on stars like our Sun, hoping that they have planets around them that emit intelligent signals," Werthimer said in a statement. "But we've never had a list of planets like this before."

The Green Bank Telescope can scan 300 times the range of frequencies that Arecibo could, meaning that it can collect the same amount of data in one day that Arecibo could in one year.
The project will likely take about a year to complete, and will be helped by a team of one million at-home astronomers, known as SETI@home users, who will help process the data on personal computers.

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The Daily Galaxy via  2011 AFP and National Radio Observatory

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Comments

Boy. Wait until Congress gets hold of this one.

Weekend NewsFlash: US Astronomers Launch New Search for Advanced Alien Life on 86 Planets

I just cannot believe that Nasa, is still trying to fool humans, that they have not made contact with Aliens?
Is been a regular thing since 1942, but still will not admit we have them living here on Earth. How about the South Pole and deep Sea ? How about the Moon ?
Well, NASA , if you require proof why not ask me for some photos ?
Thought not ! You would rather continue fooling people!

hey adrew, whats good on them photos? got me curious lol

This sounds more like Communication to me. I'd bet the farm (if I had one) that we have been chatting with our "neighbors" for decades. "Disclosure" by this type of noninformation (leaving the door open to all sorts of specultation but no real information) is annoying in the extreme. And I feel certain that this is, in fact, part of the "disclosure" process...and to the very people who already have most of the information to begin with. Every time I hear Jill Tarter's name I want to scream and throw something.

@Andrew
well, if you have any photos that are not fake or anything, why don't you come forward and show them? Right, because you have none...

SETI is a poor way of searching for extra-terrestial life,as the odds of receiving a radio signal is dependent on the convergence of a number of independent factors.For one,the age of solar system being studied is important,as a young system would not have had time to evolve life,let alone intelligent life,although presumably this was taken into account when the 86 planets were selected.Secondly,evolution on extra-solar planets will not conveniently start and proceed at the same time and rate as on Earth.For another,radio use would probably follow the model seen on this planet,where fiber optics and low power line of sight satellite transmission has largely taken over long distance communication,and cable has largely replaced transmission of tv signals.
A better strategy might involve the spectral analysis of the light reflected off of a planet which could determine whether or not it is covered with vegetation.

[img]http://www.menstuff.org/logos/ManTits.jpg[/img]

Maybe Andrew does have alien photos - downloaded from ET_phonehome.com/screensavers/

So, what do we do when they come to impose their religion, steal our resources, or just have fun hunting us down until we get civilized (i.e. like them) ?

These comments are the best.

UltraBen -- A society like that will collapse before its members can get here.

Dr. Paul Cook So! where are the Photos?

I'm asking.

Pretty Please.

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