The SETI Program, "Search For Extraterrestrial Intelligence," was initiated in 1984 as a non-profit organization whose goal is to be the first one on the block to hear Alpha Centauri's version of Michael Jackson. So far nothing substantial has been found. SETI is comprised of three centers, the Center for SETI Research, the Carl Sagan Center for the Study of Life in the Universe and the Center for Education and Public Outreach.
Federal money was discontinued in 1993 when Congress yanked the plug, it has continued using private funding but even that is now drying up. SETI is now seeking assistance to prevent the shutting down of the Allen Telescope Array at UC Berkley's Hat Creek Radio Observatory.
If by some miracle a signal is discovered that meets the criteria designating an "intelligent" source, then notifications are made:
If everything that MicroSoft touches runs true to form, we will all be instantly subjected to the "Blue Screen O'Death" and will vanish as a species overnight.
Once an extraterrestrial transmission is detected, there’s an established, though informal, protocol for whom to inform, says Welch with a grin. It’s no longer the President of the United States or even the Secretary General of the United Nations who gets the first call. It is investor and philanthropist Paul G. Allen, cofounder of Microsoft. A major underwriter of the SETI project, he will be the first to know when the aptly named Allen Telescope Array, or ATA, has breaking news to report.
Suggestion: point these antenna at the White House and see if there are any signs of intelligence coming from there. We'd all like to know.
“I am very excited to be supporting one of the world’s most visionary efforts to seek basic answers to some of the fundamental questions about our universe,” says Allen. “The developments taking place with this new instrument will change the landscape of how telescopes will be built in the future.”