Cogan Station, PA.., April 2002 -- The American Astronomical Society has awarded a second Small Research Grant to SETI League executive director H. Paul Shuch, this one to help finance his development of a next-generation radio telescope. Dr. Shuch is using the $2,000 grant toward construction of a proof-of-concept prototype for The SETI League's ambitious Array2k radio telescope design.
The SETI League began conceptual design work in 1999 on Array2k, a planned phased array of satellite TV dishes, to be used as a research-grade radio telescope of unique flexibility. Array2k is intended to search specifically for intelligently generated microwave signals from distant civilizations. Although the funding required to implement this design has yet to be secured, Dr. Shuch has already begun construction of a small-scale prototype. The eight-dish telescope, dubbed the Very Small Array (VSA), is now taking shape in the backyard of his rural Pennsylvania home.
Shuch was awarded a previous AAS Small Research Grant in August, 2000. That grant financed, in part, the construction of The SETI League's moonbounce calibration beacon, which provides a stable microwave reference signal emanating constantly from a known point in the sky. The beacon, which is licensed within the Amateur Radio Service to operate at a frequency of 1296 MHz, has for the past year been used by amateur and professional radio astronomers alike, to calibrate their receiving systems.
The VSA is similarly designed to operate in the ham radio 23 cm band, under Dr. Shuch's personal ham radio license. In addition to testing new technologies, it will be used in conjunction with the previously funded moonbounce beacon, to explore the reflection of microwave signals off the surface of the Moon. The SETI League hopes to show how donated dishes, student labor, and volunteer design work can be combined to test a high-tech concept on a shoestring budget.
Engineering details for the VSA, as well as its larger sibling, the planned Array2k, may be found online at www.setileague.org/array2k.
SETI scientists seek to determine through microwave and optical measurements whether humankind is alone in the universe. Since Congress terminated NASA's SETI funding in 1993, The SETI League and other scientific groups have been attempting to privatize the research. Experimenters interested in participating in the search for intelligent alien life, or citizens wishing to help support it, should email to join_at_setileague_dot_org, check the SETI League Web site at http://www.setileague.org/, send a fax to +1 (201) 641-1771, or contact The SETI League, Inc. membership hotline at +1 (800) TAU-SETI. Be sure to provide us with a postal address to which we will mail further information. The SETI League, Inc. is a membership-supported, non-profit [501(c)(3)], educational and scientific corporation dedicated to the electromagnetic Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence.
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this page last updated 30 November 2002
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