Search for alien life resumes

Dec. 6, 2011 at 12:40 PM

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., Dec. 6 (UPI) -- The search for extraterrestrial intelligence, on hold since April for lack of funds, has resumed, astronomers in California say.

The SETI Institute of Mountain View, which had suspended operations when the University of California's Hat Creek Observatory ran out of money, announced the resumption Monday following a public fundraising campaign that brought in $200,000, The New York Times reported.

SETI astronomers said they would be sharing the array of radio telescopes with the Air Force, which wants to use them to track satellites and space junk and will provide some funding.

The SETI search will concentrate on the numerous new planets outside out solar system discovered by NASA's Kepler satellite, searching for what scientist call "technosignatures" of any inhabitants of those planets.

"We know there are planets there," Jill Tartar of the institute said.

However, SETI needs about $100,000 a month to operate, she said, and the Air Force money would not be enough to keep it alive in the long run.

"We are going to need public support," she said.

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