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Jodie Foster Supports Alien Life Search

The Oscar-winning actress, producer and director has helped The Search for Extraterrestrial-Intelligence with fundraising to keep an array of telescopes searching for life outside of Earth. The SETI telescopes operate 24 hours a day but the economic downturn has affected them as well, and their funding was running low, so a fundraiser was instrumental in keeping them in operation. Ms. Foster said, “The Allen Telescope Array could turn science fiction into science fact but only if it is actively searching the skies.” (Source

Currently the array is made up of forty-two telescopes, but eventually it might be expanded to 350 units, all receiving radio waves from space. This is essentially an enormous space listening research project. It is named the Allen Array due to funding from Paul Allen, a co-founder of Microsoft. In April of 2011 it had been put into hibernation due to funding shortages. The extra funding allowed them to continue collecting information from space. Operating the array costs about one million dollars annually, and one of the other funders, UC-Berkeley can’t continue supporting the research because of its own budget issues.

“I’m a SETIStar because, just like Ellie Arroway, the ATA is “good to go” and we need to return it to the task of searching newly discovered planetary worlds for signs of extraterrestrial intelligence, said Foster. (Source: The Atlantic)

Foster played a role in a feature film called Contact, about humans relating to alien life forms. The screenplay was based on a novel by Carl Sagan, who also supported SETI.

SETI was incorporated in 1984. Since then it has received financial support from Carl Sagan, Gordon Moore, Paul Allen, David Packard and others. Government funding isn’t used for the SETI searches, though related research conducted with SETI has received such support. The headquarters are in Mountain View, California.

Image Credit: Colby Gutierrez-Kraybill


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5:14AM PDT on Jul 17, 2012

yay Contact!

11:22AM PDT on Mar 26, 2012


11:18PM PST on Dec 29, 2011

Contact is my favorite movie. It's a beautiful film, and it's such a shame that Carl Sagan didn't live long enough to see the finished version. The book upon which the movie is based is a wonderful, challenging read. I'm glad Jodie Foster has kept on with her association with SETI.

4:28AM PST on Dec 14, 2011

Thanks for the article.

3:47AM PST on Nov 9, 2011


3:31PM PDT on Oct 15, 2011

Yes, Jodie Foster is a pretty outstanding universal citizen.

5:02PM PDT on Oct 2, 2011

Very cool programme. We allowed our home computer to process SETI data in the background. Glad to be part the the space programmes :)

7:31PM PDT on Sep 5, 2011

To Ainsley Chalmers, yes it could take 100,000 years at the speed of light to travel across our galaxy, but what if they (if they exist) have a time machine? A machine that would speed up the time to a mere year, month or week?
I enjoyed the video very much.

8:45AM PDT on Sep 1, 2011

This is an unrealistic concept we should be fixing the life on this planet!

8:31PM PDT on Aug 29, 2011

aliens if they did exist would take 100,000 years at the speed of light to just cross our galaxy and one hell of a lot of fuel. it is just not possible. if we do receive a message we can understand it probably took thousands of years to get here. likewise our message back would take thousands of years to return a reply. this is not conducive to healthy communication. this wasted money could be better used to help the many millions of starving and dying children around the globe.

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