Searching for aliens – Radio telescope funded

The search for intelligent life beyond Earth has received a $12.5 million boost from two former Microsoft executives, The New York Times reported Aug. 1.

The nonprofit SETI Institute in Mountain View, Calif., received $11.5 million from Paul Allen, a Microsoft founder, and $1 million from Nathan Myhrvold, former chief technology officer for the software giant.

The money will trigger work on what SETI says will be the world’s most powerful radio telescope designed expressly to monitor the galaxy for signals coming from other civilizations.

The Allen Telescope Array will be housed at the Hat Creek Observatory nearly 300 miles northeast of San Francisco and should enable astronomers to examine dozens of target stars simultaneously in search of extra-terrestrial intelligence and detect signals over a wide range of frequencies.

The telescope, a cluster of many 12-foot dish receivers, will be ready and fully operational in 2005.

Mhyrvold’s gift will fund construction of an electronics laboratory for analyzing data compiled by the telescope.

For full story, go to The New York Times.

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