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SETI’s alien search is back online after wildfire threat

Raging wildfires halted operations at the SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Institute’s Allen Telescope Array in Hat Creek, California. SETI uses this array of radio telescopes to listen for incoming radio transmissions that could be communication from extraterrestrial civilizations.

Employees were forced to evacuate the area, and the data network and electricity were reportedly interrupted at the site. SETI senior astronomer Seth Shostak explained to CNN, “We can’t listen when all that is down.” CNN reported that “The blaze came within a mile of the facility . . . on both the east and west.”

The fire endangers SETI's Allen Telescope Array. (Credit: SETI Institute)
The fire endangers SETI’s Allen Telescope Array. (Credit: SETI Institute)

Shostak posted regular updates to the SETI Institute’s website during the ordeal. On Thursday, August 7, he reported, “The Eiler fire is now reported as being 40 percent (perimeter) contained. It is no longer threatening the Array.”

SETI scientists were eventually permitted to return to the site. And on Friday, August 8, Shostak posted the following message on Twitter, announcing that the institute’s alien search is back online.

Jason McClellan

Jason McClellan is a UFO journalist and the producer/co-host of the web series Spacing Out! He is also the web content manager and staff writer for OpenMinds.tv, and a co-organizer and technical producer of the International UFO Congress. As a founding member of Open Minds, Jason served as a writer and editor for the now defunct Open Minds magazine. He has appeared on Syfy, NatGeo, and, most recently, he co-starred on H2's Hangar 1: The UFO Files. ------ Follow Jason on Twitter @acecentric and subscribe to Jason's updates on Facebook.

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