It was a bad day for humanity when SETI stopped scanning the skies. What killed it? Funding cuts, naturally, that meant operating the Allen Telescope Array that was SETI’s primary tool cost too much.
So, who stepped in to start pointing the dishes back at the sky? First off, the public, who donated massive amounts of money. Secondly, the Air Force, of all people.
It turns out that the Air Force thinks arrays like the Allen Telescope Array may be good for “Space Situational Awareness”, which is military code for “things we should really blast out of space before they start trying to mess with us.”
SETI hasn’t been idle: they’re currently planning on scanning NASA’s recent revelation of Earth-like planets in the habitable zone to find some life. Either way, it’s just nice to know somebody’s looking out for friendly, or not so friendly, visitors.
[ via Boing Boing, which uses SETI to phone home ]