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SETI Institute Receives $3.5 Million Donation from Qualcomm Chief Scientist Franklin Antonio

Gift Will Enhance Telescope to Search for Life on Other Planets

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., Nov. 14, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- SETI Institute announces today it has received a donation of $3.5 million from Franklin Antonio, Co-founder and Chief Scientist of Qualcomm.

The money will be used to more than double the sensitivity of the Allen Telescope Array by replacing a portion of the antenna feed, which receives signals from the cosmos to search for life in the universe. In honor of the donation, the upgrade will be called the "Antonio Antenna Feed."  The project is described in this video:

A Google+ Hangout will be held on Wednesday, November 14, 2012 at noon Pacific Standard Time to discuss the project. To join go to Videos describing the project can be seen here.

As a tribute to Antonio, co-founder of Qualcomm, for his generosity and ingenuity, the SETI Institute, a non-profit science research group, announces the kickoff of "Communicate," an appeal for $1 million to fund its mission of innovation and exploration.

Donations from this appeal will fund the Center for SETI Research's exploration of the extrasolar planets being discovered by the Kepler Mission and ground-based observers.  Donations will also establish the "Innovation Fund" for the Carl Sagan Center within the SETI Institute.  Every project in these centers focuses on scientific research to understand the origins of life and the extent to which life may be present beyond Earth.

"Donations will help support our scientists to make a difference in the world. People who value creativity, education and technology support SETI Institute's mission," said Jill Tarter, co-founder of the SETI Institute and who was recently named as one of the 25 most influential people in Space by Time Magazine.

To donate go to: "Communicate" donors will receive:

  • Access to members' only site with opportunities to connect with scientists and other science enthusiasts, fun polls and surveys, and much more.
  • Donor's names on the Monument to Discovery of Intelligent Life in the Universe, to be erected when we accomplish our mission. This historical monument will stand as a tribute to the successful search for answers to the ageless questions, "Where did we come from?" and "Are we alone?"
  • First of its kind "Communicate" T-shirt.
  • The exclusive "Communicate" window cling. 

For information go to

About the SETI Institute

The mission of the SETI Institute is to explore, understand and explain the origin, prevalence and nature of life in the universe. The Institute is a non-profit corporation that serves as a primary hub for research and educational projects relating to the study of life in the universe. The Institute conducts research in multiple scientific fields including astronomy and planetary sciences, chemical evolution, the origin of life, biological evolution, physics, and cultural evolution. Institute projects have successfully competed for grant funding from  NASA Ames Research Center, NASA Headquarters, National Science Foundation, Department of Energy, US Geological Survey, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), the International Astronomical Union,  Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, David & Lucile Packard Foundation, Paul G. Allen Foundation, Moore Family Foundation, Universities Space Research Association  Pacific Science Center, Foundation for Microbiology, Sun Microsystems, Hewlett Packard Company, William and Rosemary Hewlett, Bernard M. Oliver and many other individuals, foundations, and scientific organizations.

SETI is an acronym for Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence. SETI is a scientific research program to detect evidence of technological civilizations that may exist elsewhere in the universe, particularly in our galaxy. There are potentially billions of locations outside our solar system that may host life. With our current technology, we have the ability to discover evidence of cosmic habitation where life has evolved and developed to a technological level at least as advanced as our own.

About the Allen Telescope Array

Allen Telescope Array (ATA) is a massive instrument working at radio wavelengths that will eventually comprise 350 antennas, each 6 meters in diameter. This telescope will be able to enormously increase the speed, and the spectral search range, of the Institute's hunt for signals.

The ATA is a large number of small dishes designed to be highly effective for "commensal" surveys. It can be simultaneously used for both SETI and cutting-edge radio astronomy research observations at centimeter wavelengths. The ATA will permit an expansion of previous stellar reconnaissance to 100 thousand or even 1 million nearby stars.


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