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A volta dos radiotelescópios do SETI Institute

Ao que parece, a crise norte-americana começa a dar os primeiro sinais de recuperação. Os indicadores econômicos, apesar de timidamente, demonstram uma retomada que pode ajudar a garantir a reeleição do presidente Obama.

E é nesta onda que o SETI Institute conseguiu novo financiamento para voltar a operar os radiotelescópios do ATA (Allen Telescope Array) no Radio-observatório Hat Creek. Doações de grandes empresas, da Força Aérea dos EUA e do público em geral possibilitaram a volta, no final do ano passado, das atividades dos radiotelescópios que estavam hibernando desde abril. A volta das contribuições das empresas é sinal claro de uma recuperação. A Força Aérea utiliza os equipamentos de modo estratégico na prevenção de colisões de seus satélites com lixo espacial. Para complementar, o instituto conseguiu atrair o público através de uma campanha de doações, na qual qualquer pessoa pode contribuir exclusivamente para ajudar os custos de operação do ATA. 

A notícia da suspensão das principais atividades do ATA no ano passado pegou muita gente de surpresa, principalmente quando o crescente aumento do número de planetas extrassolares descobertos direcionava as observações. Pela primeira vez, os cientistas do instituto podiam observar uma estrela sabendo que nela havia planetas ao redor.

A retomada dos trabalhos dos radiotelescópios aliado às descobertas de planetas extrassolares que pertencem à zona de habitabilidade da estrela, ou seja, podem ter água no estado líquido e abrigar algum tipo de vida, deu novo impulso aos pesquisadores do SETI Institute.

Mas ainda restam incertezas no ar; a dependência de recursos externos não garante o futuro das observações. Talvez, com a possibilidade de encontrar algum tipo de transmissão extraterrestre, tenha ficado mais fácil assegurar esses recursos, e o que não falta entre nós são pessoas que se fascinam com o tema.

Sejam bem-vindos de volta os telescópios que procuram pela verdade que está lá fora!

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