Monday, October 23, 2006

Carl Sagan Center Opens

Carl Sagan Center Logo

Bat City News Wire

Carl Sagan (Sml)     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 said.

"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 Ann Druyan.

More . . .

See Also: SETI Pioneer Philip Morrison, Physicist Dies


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