Search for E.T. to go live on the Web

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LOS ANGELES, Feb. 29 (UPI) — The search for extraterrestrial life is about to go worldwide with a Web site intended to get the public involved in the hunt, officials said.

Announced at a technology conference in Los Angeles, the site Setilive.org will stream radio frequencies that are transmitted from the Seti (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Allen Telescope Array in Northern California.

Participants in the project, being run by Jillian Tarter of the Seti Institute’s Center for Seti Research, will be asked to search for signs of unusual activity in the hope the human brain can find things automated systems might miss.

“There are frequencies that our automated signal detection systems now ignore, because there are too many signals there,” Tartar told BBC News.

“Most are created by Earth’s communication and entertainment technologies, but buried within this noise there may be a signal from a distant technology.”

“I’m hoping that an army of volunteers can help us deal with these crowded frequency bands that confuse our machines,” she said. “By doing this in real time, we will have an opportunity to follow up immediately on what our volunteers discover.”

Zooniverse, home to many successful Internet citizen science projects, is taking part in the project.

“Over the last few years, we have learned about the incredible desire of hundreds of thousands of people to take part in scientific research as they’ve used Zooniverse to classify galaxies, explore the Moon and even to discover planets,” said Chris Lintott, Zooniverse’s principal investigator.

“With Setilive.org, we’re very excited to be inviting them on this grandest of adventures.”

Spencer Cameron

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