Staff writer Rick Steelhammer's excellent article "Amateurs Hear Green Bank's Call" (Sunday Gazette-Mail, July 14, 2002) was an outstanding overview of amateur radio astronomy and the Society of Amateur Radio Astronomers (SARA). Unfortunately, it contained this erroneous and misleading statement:
"Some SARA members are also involved in a coordinated search for evidence of intelligent life elsewhere in the universe. That effort is being coordinated by the SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Institute, an offshoot of a canceled NASA program that began at Green Bank."
Yes, it is true that many SARA members are involved in SETI science. It is equally true that SETI started at Green Bank, and that the SETI Institute is an offshoot of a cancelled NASA program. But I must emphasize that amateur SETI efforts are decidedly not coordinated by our professional colleageus at the prestigious SETI Institute. Rather, amateur SETI worldwide is coordinated by the grassroots SETI League, another organization altogether. The SETI League (which was well represented at the Green Bank meeting detailed in your article) was founded in response to the cancellation of the NASA SETI program, and has succeeded in privatizing the research apparently considered too expensive by Congress, yet too important by our 1300 members to be allowed simply to die.
Your readers may learn more about the membership-supported, nonprofit SETI League at http://www.setileague.org.
H. Paul Shuch, Ph.D.
The SETI League, Inc.
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