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28 April 2011

SETI Funding and Carl Sagan

Just read a couple of blog entry posts from Dr. Phil Plait (aka The Bad Astronomer) that I wanted to share.

First of all, SETI is not getting any funding, and they need to raise money, or shut down the Allen Telescope Array.  Now I know that a lot of folks may not agree with the stated purpose of SETI, but one thing that they are doing that actually impacts you and many other people is signal processing.  Just because of this technology, your access to the EM spectrum is increased for applications like cell phones and WiFi.  Just based on that, you ought to donate to the cause.  Or as Dr. Plait says:
But that won’t happen for a while at least. The array costs about $2.5 million per year to run, and that money simply isn’t coming in; there are several funding agencies — including the eponymous Paul Allen — but as the SETI press release puts it:
In an April 22, 2011 email (PDF) to Allen Telescope Array stakeholder level donors, SETI Institute CEO Tom Pierson described in detail the recent decision by U.C. Berkeley, our partner in the Array, to reduce operations of the Hat Creek Radio Observatory (and thus the Allen Telescope Array) to a hibernation state effective this month. NSF University Radio Observatory funding to Berkeley for HCRO operations has been reduced to approximately one-tenth of its former level and, concurrently, growing State of California budget shortfalls have severely reduced the amount of state funds available for support of the HCRO site.
Knowing my readers, some of you will want to help. SETI has a donation page. I talked with Seth yesterday and he told me "every little bit helps".
And hey, if you happen to know a millionaire who happens to be able to look a little bit beyond the next day or two of market fluctuations, you know where to send them.
And then we have this movie from the greatest science communicator of all, Carl Sagan:

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