ET Hunting: Brits Join Search for Alien Life Among the Stars
For nearly three decades Americans with the SETI Institute in California have scanned the skies for signs of alien life.
Now British scientists are getting in on the acts with a new concerted effort to look for extraterrestrial intelligence.
Eleven institutions have joined up to found the UK Search for Extra Terrestrial Life Research Network, BBC News reports.
The group is asking funding agencies for about $1.5 million per year to keep radio telescopes pointed at the stars.
"If we had one part in 200 -- half a percent of the money that goes into astronomy at the moment -- we could make an amazing difference. We would become comparable with the American effort," UK SETI Network co-ordinator Alan Pennytold BBC News.
With a bit of funding UK researchers could run persistent targeted searches around regions of the sky where planets potentially capable of supporting life are known to exist, the Guardian reports.
Currently most SETI work is done in the U.S. with funding from private donors, according to the Space Reporter.
American scientist launched the current search for alien life in 1984. The SETI Institutes uses radio and optical telescopes to scan for signals sent -- deliberately or otherwise -- from an extraterrestrial source.
If it sounds far-fetched, talk to an astronomer.
"Ask astronomers do they think ET exists and most will tell you yes," Tim O'Brien, deputy director of Jodrell Bank Observatory, told the Guardian. "We don't know what the nature of life would be, or whether it wants to communicate with us, but since we're collecting all this data anyway, it seems rather remiss not to search for ET signals."