The SETI League, Inc., a membership-supported, non-profit {501(c)(3)}, educational and scientific organization Searching for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence

SETI League Technical Initiatives

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Project Update

The SETI League, Inc., pioneers in the use of backyard satellite TV dishes for SETI research, has since 1995 promoted a credible all-sky survey on a mere one percent of the budget of the late NASA SETI program. Being technologically audacious, we are now hard at work on a new kind of radio telescope -- Array2k -- which will combine 32 or more standard satellite TV antennas into a single powerful radio telescope, at a fraction of the cost of a single giant dish such as those at Green Bank and Jodrell Bank.

Array2k (named not for the recent year, or the dreaded computer glitch, but rather for its planned 2000 square feet of collecting area) will be used to support the individual efforts of The SETI League's 1300+ members worldwide as a follow-up detection device to help confirm their observations. It will also be used for direct astronomical research, and serve as a test-bed for SETI League engineers to develop the technologies which will someday allow them to unite thousands of members' small, backyard telescopes into a huge radio telescope of planetary proportions (provisionally dubbed Project ELBA, for Extremely Long Baseline Array).

The SETI League's patent-pending design builds upon the pioneering work of Prof. Ron Bracewell and Govind Swarup at Stanford University more than forty years ago. To date, we have received donations of a site (in northern New Jersey) and 47 six-foot dishes and mounts (which, while smaller than our original design calls for, will be invaluable for proof-of-concept).

Funds raised to date
To get Array2k up and running, we need to raise $160,000 US for hardware alone, plus additional, ongoing funding for infrastructure and overhead. Our current commitment to Array2k is $250,000 US, or just one percent of what our colleagues at the SETI Institute are spending for their far more ambitious Allen Telescope Array. Although our financial requirement is a minute fraction of what has been spent in the past on research-grade radio telescopes, it is still a non-trivial sum, which has yet to be raised, and the support of SETI enthusiasts everywhere is encouraged.

While our Array2k fundraising efforts continue, SETI League executive director H. Paul Shuch has begun construction of an eight-dish prototype, dubbed the Very Small Array (VSA), in the backyard of his rural Pennsylvania home. Designed to operate at 1296 MHz in the 23 cm ham band, he will be using it to run receive experiments with our W2ETI Moonbounce Beacon. The design bears superficial resemblance to the SETI Institute's better-known seven-dish Rapid Prototype Array, but is budgeted at a scant $10,000, not coincidentally just one percent of what was spent by the SETI Institute on their more complex RPA.

Watch this space in the months ahead, to see how donated dishes, student labor and volunteer design work are being combined to test a high-tech concept on a shoestring budget.

Press Releases:

Letters of Support


Although progress on Array2k has been stalled due to lack of adequate funding, its major engineering breakthroughs are being adopted by the Osservatorio Scientifico Astronomico 'Gian Camillo Gloriosi', in Montecorvino Rovella, Salerno, Italy, for use in its planed Montecorvino SETI Telescope Array (MStar). The SETI League is pleased to support this initiative, and its executive director (and Array2k designer) H. Paul Shuch is serving as Principal Investigator for the MStar project.

Download Adobe Acrobat Reader See Mstar Briefing Chart (Portable Document Format)
MStar, Array2k, and the VSA will all proudly fly the Flag of Earth.
Image © 1970 by James Cadle
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this page last updated 2 September 2006
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