Forty-two radio telescopes, known as the Allen Telescope Army, have set up shop near Lassen Peak, Calif., searching for radio signals from the constellation Cygnus. The project was operated by the University of California until last year, when it ran out of money, The New York Times reported Monday.
The current search for any alien transmission is conducted with scrounged equipment, part-time astronomers' talents and donations from Silicon Valley executives, the newspaper said.
While the U.S. Air Force is negotiating a contract with the group to help it locate errant satellites, the astronomers have returned to the site, named after Microsoft founder and philanthropist Paul Allen, whose $25 million contribution began the project.
No government money has been spent since 1993 on monitoring the skies for signs of extraterrestrial life, the report said.