LITTLE FERRY, NJ.., May 24, 1997 -- Wayne Thresher, a dairy industry worker and part-time farmer in Ashhurst, New Zealand, has become the 500th member of the non-profit SETI (Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence) League. Thresher, who has been building his own radio telescope for two years, heads the quaintly named Pohangina Valley Radio Astronomy and Barbeque Club. "Its fun to think about life on other worlds," says Thresher, a former member of the Society of Amateur Radio Astronomers. "Mars and Europa are making the news these days. Moreover, planets orbiting distant stars have recently been discovered. Some of those planets might be home to living things. Perhaps some are intelligent. Perhaps some even know more than we do. I think class is in session and we're all a bit tardy! At the very least we can listen for the ringing of the school bell, however faint and distant. By building a SETI telescope in the southern hemisphere we'll improve our chances of a 'hit'. Admittedly the odds are long and the task is immense."
So why try? Thresher responds, "sometimes a difficult endeavour is its own reward. 'Because it's there' was reason enough for Hillary. I would point out: First to beat Everest, first to split the atom, oh, and in case you haven't noticed, the America's cup has been spending time south of the border lately. For my money the best way to get a difficult job done is to tell a Kiwi he can't do it. Perhaps a Kiwi will be first to 'hear' that distant bell. I challenge you northerners to prove me wrong. The league is the means for everyone to participate in this most noble effort. The worst thing wouldn't be that we failed. The worst thing would be that we didn't try. And when we succeed no one of us will ever look up into the sky and see it quite the same way again."
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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