LITTLE FERRY, NJ.., August 30, 1997 -- What do we do if we hear something? Amateur radio astronomers have been debating that question since the formation of the grass-roots SETI (Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence) League nearly three years ago. The Trustees of the nonprofit, membership supported science group have just endorsed the professional SETI community's international protocols for signal verification and response, according to Dr. H. Paul Shuch, the League's executive director.
The SETI Verification Protocols were adopted by the International Academy of Astronautics in 1989, to ensure that all candidate signals from space are properly evaluated to screen out false alarms, and that any significant findings are made public. Reply protocols were proposed by that same body in 1995, to help develop a coordinated, international response to any interstellar messages actually received. "These Protocols were penned at a time when SETI was being done by a limited number of trained, professional scientists, using the kinds of facilities which only governments can afford," notes Shuch. "The SETI League's privatized search is bringing scores of amateurs into the SETI fold, which makes it even more important that we neither cry wolf, nor allow ourselves to withhold critical scientific information. The Protocols will help us successfully negotiate that rather fine line."
Full text of the Verification Protocols appears on The SETI League's World Wide Web site, at http://www.setileague.org/general/protocol.htm. The Reply Protocols are also there at the address http://www.setileague.org/general/reply.htm. Both documents now bear the following Note:
"By resolution of the Board of Trustees on 17 August 1997, The SETI League, Inc. officially endorses the following Protocols, and respectfully requests that our members embrace them."
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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