SETI Calls for Volunteers

Institute needs help combing through mass of data in search for extra-terrestrial life

By Kellie White
|  Thursday, Mar 1, 2012  |  Updated 12:30 PM PDT
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SETI needs help analyzing signals collected by its telescopes.

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Attention, alien enthusiasts: SETI needs your help.

Leaders at the SETI Institute in Mountain View are asking for volunteers to help them comb through floods of signals picked up by radio telescopes at Hat Creek in the Sierra National Forest. The 42 telescopes are scanning patches of space, searching for signs of extra-terrestrial life.

The trouble is, the data from those telescopes gets so crowded with signals -- from satellites to spacecraft, even cell phones -- that the computers bringing in the data can't accurately scan the information.

SETI leaders are now seeking "citizen scientists" to help uscramble the data.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports, SETI's director announced Wednesday that she and her colleagues have created a new public search site that will allow volunteers to access and receive data on their computers directly from the telescopes.

Volunteers will be asked to sift through the radio noise and try to find regular patterns of data, that could identify alien communications.

SETI says it needs hundreds, even thousands of volunteers to comb through the data. If you're interested in volunteering, visit setilive.org.

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