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In fact, each day a new far-off planet may be just now catching the latest episode of the 1950s sitcom ''I Love Lucy,'' said astronomer Seth Shostak, a senior astronomer at the SETI Institute.
The SETI project was hit hard by recent federal government budget cuts and by cost savings at UC Berkeley.
SETI efforts are expanding the search to a wider range of electromagnetic channels, both at radio and optical frequencies.
A SETI success, the detection of an unambiguous signal or message, would undoubtedly be one of the top news headlines in history, with undreamed of and far-ranging effects on religious views and theology.
Jill Tarter, who directs the SETI Institute's observing program and is Vakoch's boss, has briefed the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space on the need to develop a second protocol on how and whether to reply to a signal.
For more information on SETI 2002 or for information about participating in SETI 2003, contact ITC's Trade information Section (tis-alert@intracen.
The school's students centering on members of the science club joined SETI in their extracurricular activities.
The SETI search for alien life started in the mid-1970s with the backing of the Carter administration.
But the program lives on as Project Phoenix, run by the SETI Institute, a private, non-profit foundation in Mountain View, California.
Globally, less than $2 million annually is spent on SETI, said Dan Werthimer, an adviser to Milner's project and the astrophysicist who directs the SETI@home project affiliated with the University of California in Berkeley.
para]]Evidence of extraterrestrial contacts in Switzerland, said to be ongoing for 73 years, sent to scientists at SETI and recently formed NExSS Initiative[[/para]]