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US alien search programme scrapped

Telescopes aimed at monitoring potential extra-terrestrial communication from the United States have been scrapped after a massive cut in federal funding.

Radio telescopes of the Allen Telescope Array are seen in Hat Creek, Calif. Astronomers at the SETI Institute in Northern California.
Radio telescopes of the Allen Telescope Array are seen in Hat Creek, Calif. Astronomers at the SETI Institute in Northern California.
Image: Ben Margot/AP/Press Association Images

A US PROGRAMME using special telescopes to monitor the skies for evidence of alien life has been scrapped after 26 years due to budget constraints.

The Allen Telescope Array (ATA) project, operating out of California, has been cancelled by the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI) Institute following funding for the laboratory being cut to one-tenth its previous size.

The telescopes at Hat Creek Radio Observatory north of San Francisco, California, were established in 1984 to monitor for potential extraterrestrial communication, the BBC reports.

A letter from Tom Pierson, CEO of SETI Institute announced the decision to indefinitely suspend the project: “Effective this week, the ATA has been placed in hibernation due to funding shortfalls for operations of the Hat Creek Radio Observatory where the ATA is located”.

Pierson added that partners for the programme were being sought, reports AFP.

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