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Powerful Telescopes Search for Extraterrestrial Life

In a remote valley of northern California forty-two radio telescopes point skyward. The Allen Telescope Array is a new and powerful tool for an organization called the SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Institute. The SETI Institute began decades ago, and this latest technological marvel represents a new phase in its cosmic search for extraterrestrial life. The array of large telescopes is "listening" carefully to the universe. In sync with each other, the telescopes read and record distant radio frequencies from across the universe, in the hope that something from the heavens will indicate the presence of an intelligent life form.

While the technology is new, the search is not. For all of human history humankind has looked upward and soulfully wondered, What is beyond? Who might be there? If we're honest, we all can admit that we default to a SETI mode at times. We may not gaze through a telescope, but our wonderings cause us to search, to look up, to look out, to look beyond for something out there that will bring meaning to our lives here. The SETI Institute has invested millions on the hope that the heavens will say something to us. But perhaps our scientific dollars are being wasted. Perhaps we've simply been unwilling or unable to hear what the heavens have been shouting all along.

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