Astronomers Searching 86 Planets for Aliens
SETI project collecting data on planets likeliest to harbor life
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 14, 2011 10:08 AM CDT
The Green Bank Telescope is the largest fully steerable radio telescope on Earth.   (Wikipedia)

(Newser) – American astronomers are searching for signs of alien life on 86 possible Earth-like planets deemed the likeliest to harbor life. The massive Green Bank radio telescope in rural West Virginia will home in on each of the 86—chosen from 1,235 possible planets located by NASA's Kepler telescope—and collect 24 hours of data from each one, reports the AFP.

The mission is part of the SETI project, which was forced to close down a major part of its efforts last month because of budget cuts. "We've picked out the planets with nice temperatures—between zero and 100 degrees Celsius—because they are a lot more likely to harbor life," a veteran SETI researcher says. The project, expected to take up to a year, will be aided by a million volunteers who will help process the data on their home computers. (And in other planetary news...)