SETI opens new Carl Sagan Center
for the Study of Life in the Universe
in Mountain View
Photo courtesy SETI
By Elizabeth Daley, Bay City News Service
October 22, 2006
MOUNTAIN VIEW (BCN) - The SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial
Intelligence) Institute in Silicon Valley has opened the Carl
Sagan Center for the Study of Life in the Universe, the institute
announced this week.
The Sagan Center will conduct research on topics such as the
ability of organisms to thrive in extreme environments as well
as explorations of Mars and the moons of Jupiter for signs of
life, the institute reports.
Founded in 1984, SETI is most famous for its radio searches for
signs of extraterrestrial intelligence. According to SETI CEO
Tom Pierson, "our mission has always been to explore, understand
and explain the origin, nature and prevalence of life in the universe.''
Pierson said when federal funding for extraterrestrial intelligence
research was cut in 1994, SETI continued research, using funding
from private donors.
"The proposed 50-percent cut in the NASA Astrobiology budget
for 2007 is a clear reminder of how volatile government support
for science can be,'' said Scott Hubbard, conceiver of the Sagan
center. Hubbard said "our immediate goal is to raise $4 to
$6 million over the next three years so that we can sustain our
top researchers. The longer term vision is to establish endowed
chairs and create additional laboratory capabilities,'' Hubbard
"We believe that the search for life in the universe is
a multi-generational activity that requires an institutional commitment
for the long haul,'' said Greg Papadopoulos, SETI chairman and
Sun Microsystems executive vice president.
The Sagan Center, named after the famous astronomer and SETI
board member, is located at 515 N. Wishman Road in Mountain View
and is staffed by 50 principal investigators, boasting state-of-the-art
facilities, according to SETI.
"Carl would have been thrilled that this new center, devoted
to pursuing the scientific questions that fascinated him most,
will bear his name,'' said Sagan's widow and long time collaborator
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