SETI Overwhelmed By ‘Flood’ Of Signals From Kepler Planets

SETI telescopes have received so much data while scanning Kepler planets, that they are now begging for help sorting through it all.

By Dateline Zero

An array of radio telescopes in the Sierra National Forest have gathered “floods” of signals. The sudden work load is too much for team SETI, and they are asking for help.

The really interesting thing about this story is that the telescopes — working together as “the Allen Telescope Array” — are currently focused on the 156,000 stars that NASA’s Kepler spacecraft is scanning in the constellations Cygnus and Lyra.

I suddenly have an image of Weird Al sculpting mashed potatoes into a mountain (Close Encounters) and telling his girl friend: “This is important. This means something.” But that might be because I watched UHF with my kids the other day.

Jill Tarter, director of the institute’s search for extraterrestrial life, announced that she and her colleagues have created a new public search site that will allow volunteers to receive data on their computers directly from the Allen telescopes. (Isn’t that what SETI@home was created for, or doesn’t work for this particular job?)

“The frequency bands are so crowded,” Tarter said, “that our automated machines are overwhelmed and I’m hoping that an army of volunteers can help us to sort through all this chaos.”

To volunteer to help the SETI Institute sort through data in its search for life in the galaxy, go to setilive.org.

More at Dateline Zero

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