After federal and state financial cutbacks forced the institute’s shiny new Allen Telescope Array (ATA) into indefinite hibernation earlier this year, cosmically-minded geeks all over the globe donated money in droves, bringing the search for extraterrestrial life back from oblivion. Over $200,000 in donations from thousands of fans — including Contact‘s own Jodie Foster, science-fiction writer Larry Niven, and Apollo 8 Astronaut Bill Anders — will get science operations up and running as soon as September, although they’re far from being out of the woods.
It’s a rare story of success for SETI. As seekers of little green men, they won’t quite be mainstream until the human race evolves a little, and — perhaps accordingly — they’ve been besieged by obstacles practically since day one. Still, the fight’s not over yet, so keep donating to SETI, and let’s keep those metallic ears pinned to the hum of the Universe while we still can.