LITTLE FERRY, NJ.., August, 2000 -- The SETI League, Inc., nonprofit leaders in the search for life in space, has received a Small Equipment Grant from the American Astronomical Society, to help it construct a transmitter to bounce microwave signals off the surface of the moon. The project, titled "A Lunar Reflective Test Beacon for Radio Astronomy and SETI," will enable amateur and professional radio astronomers alike to calibrate their receiving systems, by providing a stable reference signal emanating constantly from a known point in the sky.
The SETI League's 1200 members in 59 countries have collectively assembled 95 small radio telescopes, constructed by individual members out of discarded satellite TV dish antennas, along with sensitive microwave receivers and powerful home computers. Traditionally, radio telescopes are used to study the structure of the universe, by analyzing microwave radiation emitted by natural astrophysical phenomena. In the SETI application, it is artificial radiation from other technological civilizations that the telescopes seek to identify. In either case, test signals such as the one to be provided by the moonbounce beacon enable radio astronomers to confirm the proper operation of their equipment.
The SETI League's grant application was accompanied by letters of support from the Planetary Society, the California-based SETI Institute, and the National Radio Astronomy Observatory. "With the support of our colleagues, plus this generous assistance from the AAS," comments SETI League executive director H. Paul Shuch, "we should be ready to start bouncing interesting microwave signals off the lunar surface early in 2001."
SETI scientists seek to determine through microwave and optical measurements whether humankind is alone in the universe. Since Congress terminated NASA's SETI funding in 1993, The SETI League and other scientific groups have been attempting to privatize the research. Experimenters interested in participating in the search for intelligent alien life, or citizens wishing to help support it, should email to join_at_setileague_dot_org, check the SETI League Web site at http://www.setileague.org/, send a fax to +1 (201) 641-1771, or contact The SETI League, Inc. membership hotline at +1 (800) TAU-SETI. Be sure to provide us with a postal address to which we will mail further information. The SETI League, Inc. is a membership-supported, non-profit [501(c)(3)], educational and scientific corporation dedicated to the electromagnetic Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence.
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this page last updated 30 November 2002
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