This is kinda sad. Somehow or other there doesn’t seem to be government money anymore to fund the Alien Telescope Array, a field of more than 40 radio dishes that scan the skies hoping to suss out chat from extraterrestrial beings.
These dishes are located along Hat Creek, which is up the road here some. It’s a nice area, and the dishes haven’t wrecked it any. I always found them kind of hopeful-looking, those dishes. Faces squared to the sky, mechanical expressions of the human yearning to not be alone.
Folks from the SETI Institute had planned eventually to scatter 350 of these dishes across some 90 square miles. But that isn’t going to happen anytime soon. Federal National Science Foundation funding for the Hat Creek project has been slashed to one-tenth its former level, and that delirious panhandler known as the State of California says it doesn’t have any Hat Creek money, either.
And so, the project has been put into “hibernation.”
“Effective this week, the [Allen Telescope Array] has been placed into hibernation due to funding shortfalls for operations of the Hat Creek Radio Observatory where the [array] is located,” wrote SETI Institute CEO Tom Pierson, in an open letter sent late last week to project donors. “Unfortunately, today’s government budgetary environment is very difficult, and new solutions must be found.”