The hunt for extra-terrestrial life forms has suffered a massive setback. No, Sammy Hagar hasn’t disavowed his claim that he was abducted by aliens. But the SETI (Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence) Institute has put its Allen Telescope Array into hibernation, effectively shutting down a program that has tracked transmissions from deep space since 1984.
According to the Washington Post, SETI Institute CEO Tom Pierson sent an e-mail to employees on Friday (April 22), saying there was a shortage of funds — $5 million — to keep the Telescope Array online.
“Here we are, just at the point of finding habitable worlds as common as cheap motels, and we’re mothballing the one instrument that can investigate if there’s life,” says Seth Shostak, senior astronomer at SETI. “It’s like being set down on treasure island, and then not being given a shovel.”
So far, no reaction from Jodie Foster, who made contact with alien life forms in 1997. Oh wait, that was a movie: