Como este não é um assunto em que eu esteja muito actualizado, peço desculpa se isto já foi posto. Signals to be rechecked in alien hunt THE [email protected] PROGRAM, a distributed computing effort that uses the personal computers of millions of volunteers to examine radio signal data, is planning a stellar countdown to check the extraterrestrial-potential of up to 150 radio signals detected with the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico. The signal batch is cream of a candidate crop of 5 billion radio observations pulled from the [email protected] network, which program organizers will recheck to see if they are strong enough to be an extraterrestrial communiqué, repeating and emanating from portions of sky bearing sunlike stars and planets. “Our chances right now [of finding something] are small,” [email protected] chief scientist Dan Werthimer said in a telephone interview. “But you have to plan for success.” The Arecibo Observatory will work for three and a half days, starting March 18, to revisit the candidate signals identified by [email protected] users. In addition to onsite analysis, each of the new observations will also be fed into the global program for a more detailed examination, Werthimer said. Launched in May 1999, [email protected] uses the computers of 4 million astronomy buffs in 226 countries. Together they act as a supercomputer, collectively sifting through the 35 terabytes of raw data collected by the 1,000-foot (305-meter) Arecibo dish and reporting the results to the program headquarters at the University of California at Berkeley. One terabyte is about the equivalent of 231 million pages of typed text, but [email protected] volunteers received a fraction of that — 350 kilobytes — at a time to examine. Volunteers download a screensaverlike program that examines Arecibo radio observations while the computer user is away. Once the analysis is complete — varying from a few hours to a few days, depending on the computing power of each machine — the program alerts the user and sends the examined material to [email protected] researchers via the Internet. AdvertisementClick Here! Add local news and weather to the MSNBC home page. “It was always the idea to revisit observations once the first analysis was complete,” said Louis Friedman, executive director of the Planetary Society, [email protected]’s founding and primary sponsor. “The question is, are these signals really good enough? That’s still an unknown, and it’s what this next phase of the program is going to tell us.” [email protected] is an extraterrestrial search effort separate from the SETI Institute, a group that pursues several scientific and education projects aimed at the discovering intelligent life elsewhere in the universe. Space.com has a partnership with the SETI Institute. © 2003 Space.com. All rights reserved.