LITTLE FERRY, NJ.., December 6, 1997 -- What do we do when we hear something? Amateur radio astronomers have been debating that question since the formation of the grass-roots SETI (Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence) League three years ago. Several months ago the Trustees of The SETI League endorsed a set of Verification Protocols adopted by the International Academy of Astronautics in 1989. This week they supplemented it with their own set of signal detection protocols, specifically tailored to the unique needs of the group's cadre of amateur observers around the world.
"The IAA Protocols were penned at a time when SETI was being done by a limited number of trained, professional scientists, largely funded by and under the supervision of their respective governments," notes SETI League executive director Dr. H. Paul Shuch. "Now, with hundreds (and soon thousands) of amateur radio astronomers joining the search for life in space, it becomes necessary to design a companion set of rigorous procedures. Our members, though laymen, have shown a desire to conduct themselves with a high degree of scientific professionalism." The League's new Protocols are reproduced in their entirety on the reverse of this Press Release. All individuals and groups participating in The SETI League's Project Argus survey of the heavens are being sent a document listing these specific steps to be taken in the event an interesting signal is detected.
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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