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Advancing the Search for Technosignatures

23 Jun 2020, 10:08 UTC
Advancing the Search for Technosignatures
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

What a pleasure to see — after three decades — a grant from NASA for a SETI project, and on technosignatures at that. NASA’s history with SETI has been a challenging one given the subject’s reception in Congress. It was in 1971 that the agency funded Barney Oliver’s study on the huge array called Project Cyclops, whose price-tag would have been astronomical, but the report in which it was described provided numerous insights into the SETI effort. NASA’s engagement with SETI later came under fire from William Proxmire in the Senate, resulting in the termination of SETI funding in 1982. Proxmire would later change his mind on SETI’s value.
Even so, the NASA Microwave Observing Program (MOP) planned as a search of 800 nearby stars in the early 1990’s was again targeted in Congress and canceled shortly thereafter. The SETI effort developed in the ensuing years without government funding through efforts like Project Phoenix, which picked up the Mobile Observing Program under the guidance of Jill Tarter and the SETI Institute. With a number of interesting projects along the way, SETI has remained an ad hoc, privately funded effort in the US, with ongoing work through Breakthrough Listen, the Allen ...

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