Alien Search to Revisit 150 Potential ET Signals

AP Wire Service

LOS ANGELES (AP) – A project using massed home-computing power to search for alien signals from outer space is going to give a second listen to the most promising radio sources it’s detected in four years of work.

Scientists on the SETI(at)home project will use the giant Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico this month to revisit up to 150 spots identified as potential sources of radio signals broadcast by alien civilizations. SETI stands for Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence.

The signals were from among the literally billions detected since the search for extraterrestrial intelligence project began in 1999.

The University of California, Berkeley-based project harnesses the computing power of 4 million-plus volunteers to scan the data collected at Arecibo. It is largely sponsored by The Planetary Society.

The collective effort cuts both the cost and time required to sift through the extensive data gathered at Arecibo, the world’s largest telescope of its kind.

The dozens of promising signals the effort have turned up were chosen for several reasons, including the numbers of times they were detected, their strength and proximity to known stars.

“I give it a one-in-10,000 chance that one of our candidate signals turns out to be from ET,” project scientist Dan Werthimer, a Berkeley physicist, said.

The results of the second listen should be available in two to
three months.