Allen Telescope Array - in temporary hibernation





We have talked about the future of ATA for a while. Tom Pierson, in a letter last week formalized it. Here is additional information from the letter.

  1. The Hat Creek Radio Observatory, where the Allen Telescope Array is located has been placed into hibarnation due to funding shortfalls.
  2. The ATA is a collaboration between SETI Instiatute, and the University of California, Berkeley. SETI Institute was responsible for raising funds for the construction of the array, and Berkeley was resonsible for the operations. Operations funds came from multiple sources - National Science Foundation, the State of California, and others. These funding sources have either stopped funding the array, or have reduced their contributions to levels that are not sufficient for continued operation.
  3. Hibernation means that, starting this week, the equipment is unavailable for normal observations and is being maintained in a safe state by a significantly reduced staff.
  4. While efforts continue to secure funding from the US Air Force under a contract to help keep track of space debris, near term funding has been delayed due to "the same, highly publicized large scale federal budget problems we all read about in the news."

What does this mean for setiQuest program? Real-time data is no longer going to flow from the array while it is in hibernation. However, we have collected signifcant amounts of data that we are going to continue analyzing, and supplying to applications like setiQuest Explorer. We will also take this opportunity to work more on SonATA software.

We are also going to continue our efforts with GalaxyZoo team, to create an envrionment of real-time crowd-sourcing for the detection of signals.

While discussions continue with different funding sources, we are also preparing a campaign for broader reach. You may hear about our campaigns directly or from other sources.  Our goal is to raise enough funds to cover a two-year search of the 1,235 exoplanet candidates announced by the Kepler mission in February.

 

Comments

You can see Tom Pierson's

You can see Tom Pierson's letter, along with requests for donation at the SETI Institute website - seti.org.

Wired magazine had a nice Q&A

Wired magazine had a nice Q&A session about the hibernation with Jill Tarter:

http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2011/04/jill-tarter-qa/