Back in April, we reported on the heartbreaking news that SETI’s Allen Telescope Array was being shut down due to lack of funding. We’re now happy to report thanks to a campaign started in June called SETIstars; the array now has the $200,000 it needed to come back online. Science fiction played no small part in this endeavor as one of the major contributors to SETIstars was acclaimed author Larry Niven. Jodie Foster, Dr. Ellie Arroway herself (in the film Contact) donated to SETIstars, as well, along with Apollo 8 astronaut Bill Anders.
Tom Pierson, the institute’s chief executive officer pointed out to msnbc.com that they are “not out of the woods yet,” and reiterated that the Allen Array would “ come out of hibernation and be solid for the next five months or so, and during those five months we’re going to take care of calendar year 2013 and put that under our belt ”
So, the Allen Array is back, but not necessarily using all of its time to listen for possible alien life. Though this financial rescue is a positive first step, a lot of funding and scheduling issues need to be solved before SETI is operating as our ideal two-way radio to the stars. But for now, the Allen Array is “okay to go.”