Not too long ago it was feared that the SETI Institutes's Allen Telescope Array, which is made up of 42 networked radio telescopes, was destined to switch off forever. While the array is currently down, it's scheduled to be reactivated — and soon.
The Allen array is named after Paul Allen, a co-founder of Microsoft who has donated over $30 million to the effort since 2001. SETI (or Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) couldn't survive off of Allen's donations alone — or forever — and turned to the public for help. To restart the array, SETI was looking for $200,000.
Why'd it go offline in the first place with $30 mil backing it? Well, that was mostly for the construction of the expansive array. It's day-to-day is operated by the Radio Astronomy Lab of UC Berkeley, and said lab ran out of funds. It marks the first time since 2008 that the ears for aliens switched off.
Well, good news: nearly 2,300 folks stepped forward and gave SETI more than enough. Thanks to the crowd-sourced success, SETI co-founder Tom Pierson thinks operations could resume as early as this September.