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Inside the SETI Program

Date Tuesday - March 2, 1999
Host Art Bell

Dr. H. Paul Shuch from the SETI League joined Art for hours 2-5. Shuch developed the first commercial home satellite TV service in 1978. He talked about how a bunch of ham operators got together to make this happen. Art and Shuch reminisced about the time they were both pirate radio operators in their younger days. Five years ago, the government dropped the official government SETI program which saved the US .0006% of the budget. In other words, the program was run with "chump change." After listening to 1000 stars, Shuch says we will only have listened to one millionth of one percent of all the good candidate stars in our galaxy alone. "Not only have we not scratched the surface, we haven’t even felt the itch," he quipped.

When the NASA SETI program was canceled, the SETI Institute picked up the targeted search and the SETI League was founded. The SETI League targets the entire sky – using non-professionals who can help. Shuch makes note that most comets are found by amateurs – so why can’t amateurs be used to listen to the sky too? He said that with the right technical know-how one can turn their satellite into a radio telescope – soon, there will be amateur radio astronomers looking for alien contact. Art says he will be turning his satellite into one of these radio telescopes!

In the first hour, Art commented on the news of the day, including Clinton impeachment controversies, a "mock" invasion of Oakland to test out an urban war, and developments with the Libertarian party.

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