Feeds

Allen telescope array begins alien hunt

MS founder says he'll get the first call

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

The first section of the Allen Telescope Array (ATA) has been powered up and is embarking on its mission to listen to a million stars.

The array, funded in part by Microsoft founder Paul Allen, will eventually include 350 individual six-metre radio telescopes, all searching the skies for signs of alien life.

"For SETI, the ATA's technical capabilities exponentially increase our ability to search for intelligent signals, and may lead to the discovery of thinking beings elsewhere in the universe," said Seth Shostak, a senior astronomer at the SETI Institute.

Allen told the New York Times the institute would ring him first if they found a signal using the ATA. "So far, the phone hasn't rung," he told the paper.

As well as seeking out signs of advanced alien civilisation, something its backers hope it will do by 2025, the ATA will also be useful for more mundane (if such a word should ever be applied) astrophysics, such as mapping the Andromeda Galaxy, collisions between black holes, dark galaxies, and other run-of-the-mill stuff.

The design is based on an off-the-shelf satellite dish. The clever bit comes in the signal processing software that clears out interference. This is the combination Allen said attracted him to the project. He put in $25m in seed money to get the venture off the ground.

Now, the partners in charge, the Radio Astronomy Laboratory of the University of California, Berkeley, and the Seti Institute, reckon it will need another $41m to complete, depending on the price of aluminium, the NYT reports. The BBC puts the completion costs at $25m.

Read more at the NYT here, and the official SETI Institute announcement here. ®

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Gigantic toothless 'DRAGONS' dominated Earth's early skies
Gummy pterosaurs outlived toothy competitors
Vulture 2 takes a battering in 100km/h test run
Still in one piece, but we're going to need MORE POWER
TRIANGULAR orbits will help Rosetta to get up close with Comet 67P
Probe will be just 10km from Space Duck in October
Boffins ID freakish spine-smothered prehistoric critter: The CLAW gave it away
Bizarre-looking creature actually related to velvet worms
CRR-CRRRK, beep, beep: Mars space truck backs out of slippery sand trap
Curiosity finds new drilling target after course correction
'Leccy racer whacks petrols in Oz race
ELMOFO rakes in two wins in sanctioned race
Astronomers scramble for obs on new comet
Amateur gets fifth confirmed discovery
What does a flashmob of 1,024 robots look like? Just like this
Sorry, Harvard, did you say kilobots or KILLER BOTS?
NASA's rock'n'roll shock: ROLLING STONE FOUND ON MARS
No sign of Ziggy Stardust and his band
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.