Monday, April 4, 2016

Tonight's Sky for April 4: Project Ozma Begins (1960)

It was on this date in 1960 that the first search for alien radio signals commenced. Working at the Green Bank Radio Observatory, a then-29 year old Frank Drake was inspired to point a radio telescope at Sun-like stars after reading a paper in the journal Nature that speculated that radio signals from an alien civilization could be detected with radio telescopes on Earth. For his project, Drake pointed an 85-foot radio dish at two stars for 6 hours a day from April to July, 1960, with no results. While modest, this first search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI) would lead to much bigger, more ambitious searches that continue to the present. 

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