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Jill Tarter says Congress wants to give NASA $ 10 million to search for extraterrestrials



Astronomer Jill Tarter says that NASA Congress wants to spend $ 10 million a year to look for extraterrestrial life. Twenty-five years ago, Congress canceled funding for similar activities. ( Frederick M. Brown | Getty Images )

Former director of the Center for SETI Research, astronomer Jill Tarter has dedicated her career to finding extraterrestrials. She says now that Congress is ready to pay the bill for this research.

New Funding for SETI

In a law setting the future of NASA, the House of Representatives has recently proposed spending $ 1

0 million annually on "the search for techno signatures, such as radio broadcasts."

The Proposed expenditure will last for the next two financial years.

If the law passes both the House of Representatives and the Senate, there can only be suggestions as to how the agencies can raise the funds. Tarter already knows how the agency will use the means to search for extraterrestrials.

"Ten million at the same time for a year will not do much," Tarter told the Atlantic. "But $ 10 million a year, as a continuing stream of funding, could do a lot, and allow people to build instruments for special purposes and use them in the sky for a long time."

SETI has a story to look for radio broadcasts that could have been broadcast by another civilization. There was also a search for extraterrestrials using other types of techno signatures, such as telescopes.

Past and Present Politicians Take Over SETI

Years ago, when Tarter worked for SETI, Congress funded efforts to look for aliens. It all ended 25 years ago when Senator Richard Bryan filed charges to cut funding.

"The great Martian Chase can finally come to an end," said Senator Richard Bryan. "Millions have been spent, and we still have to pack up a single little green fellow."

In recent years, the search for extraterrestrial life has found new support. Republican Congressman Lamar Smith from Texas is helping SETI develop the language. In the past, Smith was not friendly to the scientific community and he is a well-known climate change informer.

Reissuing SETI in the Future

When Congress dissolved the aliens search budget, scientists had to rely on funding from academic institutions or private donors to continue their research. Since then, NASA has become more involved in the search for biosignatures in space, in particular for signs of early microbial life.

Tarter attributes this problem to the stigma attached to SETI after Congress cut its budget many years ago. She suggests changing the name of "Searching for Extraterrestrial Intelligence" to "Searching for Extraterrestrial Technology." Tarter believes the name change will improve branding for the organization.

"We use technology as a proxy for intelligence," Tarter said.

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