Feeds

US military pays SETI to check Kepler-22b for aliens

'Space situational awareness' cash for Allen Array

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

The essential guide to IT transformation

The Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI) has announced that it is back in business checking out the new habitable exoplanets recently discovered by NASA's Kepler space telescope to see if they might be home to alien civilisations. The cash needed to restart SETI's efforts has come in part from the US Air Force Space Command, who are interested in using the organisation's detection instruments for "space situational awareness".

"This is a superb opportunity for SETI observations," said Jill Tarter, the Director of the Center for SETI Research, in a statement issued yesterday. "For the first time, we can point our telescopes at stars, and know that those stars actually host planetary systems - including at least one that begins to approximate an Earth analog in the habitable zone around its host star. That's the type of world that might be home to a civilization capable of building radio transmitters."

NASA has just announced the discovery of many exoplanets orbiting other stars by its Kepler spacecraft, inclusing the world Kepler-22b - described as Earth's "twin" by the space agency - which orbits a Sun-like G type star some 600 lightyears away at such a distance that it could well have liquid water on its surface and thus be home to life along Earthly lines.

Intriguingly, SETI notes that its resurgence and new mission of examining the Kepler-discovered planetary systems is partially funded by the US military:

The restart of SETI work at the ATA has been made possible thanks to the interest and generosity of the public who supported SETI research via the http://www.SETIStars.org website. Additional funds necessary for observatory re-activation and operations are being provided by the United States Air Force as part of a formal assessment of the instrument's utility for Space Situational Awareness ...

Could it be that the Pentagon are doing something useful for once and making sure that if there are any potentially hostile alien civilisations out there, they'll find out early on?

Well no, sadly for those who like their aliens. In fact Space Command are much more concerned about tracking satellites in orbit around Earth, and consider that the innovative Allen Array could be handy in picking up transmissions from spacecraft so as to help the existing military Space Surveillance Network keep a handle on where they are.

Even so, should SETI detect signs of radio-using life at any of the newly pinpointed potentially habitable star systems, Space Command will probably be very glad they helped to fund the Institute's restart. ®

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

More from The Register

next story
Munich considers dumping Linux for ... GULP ... Windows!
Give a penguinista a hug, the Outlook's not good for open source's poster child
UK fuzz want PINCODES on ALL mobile phones
Met Police calls for mandatory passwords on all new mobes
EU justice chief blasts Google on 'right to be forgotten'
Don't pretend it's a freedom of speech issue – interim commish
Detroit losing MILLIONS because it buys CHEAP BATTERIES – report
Man at hardware store was right: name brands DO last longer
Snowden on NSA's MonsterMind TERROR: It may trigger cyberwar
Plus: Syria's internet going down? That was a US cock-up
UK government accused of hiding TRUTH about Universal Credit fiasco
'Reset rating keeps secrets on one-dole-to-rule-them-all plan', say MPs
Caught red-handed: UK cops, PCSOs, specials behaving badly… on social media
No Mr Fuzz, don't ask a crime victim to be your pal on Facebook
e-Borders fiasco: Brits stung for £224m after US IT giant sues UK govt
Defeat to Raytheon branded 'catastrophic result'
Yes, but what are your plans if a DRAGON attacks?
Local UK gov outs most ridiculous FoI requests...
This'll end well: US govt says car-to-car jibber-jabber will SAVE lives
Department of Transportation starts cogs turning for another wireless comms standard
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.