For more information contact: Dr. H. Paul Shuch, Executive Director
(201) 641-1770, or email info_at_setileague_dot_org
Little Ferry, NJ.., July 2002 -- The ARRL Foundation, charitable arm of American Radio Relay League, the US national association for amateur radio, has issued a $3,000 grant to the nonprofit SETI League, Inc. The funds are being used in the design and construction of a next-generation radio telescope prototype. The Very Small Array (VSA) now under construction combines eight standard satellite TV dishes to form a radio telescope of unique flexibility.
The VSA is being built in the backyard of SETI League executive director H. Paul Shuch's rural Pennsylvania home. The ARRL Foundation grant follows an earlier $2,000 NASA Small Research Grant administered by the American Astronomical Society. Matching funds from over fifty SETI League members around the world have brought total VSA funding up to the project's budgeted $10,000. Shuch expects this funding will be sufficient to complete the VSA early next spring, about one year after the project was begun.
Once the array becomes operational, Shuch hopes its success will enable the grassroots science group to attract major corporate funding for its much more ambitious Array2k, a massive radio telescope array first contemplated in 1999. "The bargain-basement VSA will be used to test engineering concepts for the planned $250,000 Array2k," reports Shuch, "which is itself a hundred times cheaper than conventional radio telescope designs. Thus, we hope to help bring radio astronomy and SETI research to the masses." Already, several SETI League members in the Third World have used similar techniques to build the first radio telescopes in their respective countries.
The recent VSA grant was issued by the ARRL Foundation's General Fund Grants Program, which underwrites worthy large-scale Amateur Radio projects such as satellite, space shuttle and space station communications experiments, high-profile museum displays, emergency disaster communications, and numerous ARRL-specific projects for educational, promotional or organizational purposes. The programs of the ARRL Foundation are supported through individual contributions. The ARRL Foundation, Inc., like The SETI League, Inc., is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization. Any contributions made to its programs are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by the US Internal Revenue Service.
Photos of the VSA project may be found online, at <http://www.setileague.org/vsa>.
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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