SETIStars - Preparing to Re-start the ATA

Join the Search for Kepler Worlds

Help the SETI Institute continue scanning the skies for signs of intelligent life.

Dr. Jill Tarter, Bernard Oliver Chair of SETI Institute

Thanks to Kepler, the search for extrasolar planets, for the first time in human history, we are able to target our SETI search with unprecedented precision. Support the work of Dr. Jill Tarter and her team at the SETI Institute who are about to embark on a two-year campaign to check out the top thousand Kepler worlds. That's why we are appealing to you - someone who recognizes that the evolutionary drama we live every day may have happened on other distant worlds. Please donate today. Let's find some cosmic company together!

At the SETI Institute, we’ve made a name for ourselves exploring space. But it’s our community here on Earth—passionate, science-minded and creative—that truly defines us. That’s why we’ve launched SETIstars, an initiative to connect us more closely than ever with the constellation of visionaries and supporters that make our work possible.

Priority one is getting the Allen Telescope Array (ATA) back online as soon as possible and once again fixing our gaze on the stars. The ATA is a powerful field of linked radio telescopes that enable countless avenues of astronomical study, chief among them the search for evidence of extraterrestrial civilizations and insight into the nature of our cosmic origins. In the wake of a recent funding shortfall, however, this invaluable tool lies dormant and our vision of the universe around us has gone dark. With your help, we can change that.

But like any worthwhile endeavor, the first challenge is unlikely to be the last. This is a journey that will last our lifetimes, as we continually strive to get closer to answering the kinds of questions that may one day change everything about our world. It won’t happen overnight, but with your support, it will happen.

We here at the SETI Institute are making an appeal to the power of human collaboration, and now is the time to get involved. Click to join the effort


Now that we’ve reached the goal for the first SETIStars campaign, what happens next?
Bringing the ATA back online is a critical first step. However, sustaining operations is also of vital importance. SETIStars will be a rallying point for future community engagement and fundraising efforts.

The SETI Institute believes that this first community fundraising challenge was the first step in its bringing the ATA out of hibernation and resuming its activities. The SETI Institute will rely on this and other sources of funding to accomplish this objective, including:

  • Finding efficiencies in future operation costs
  • Identifying and securing partners interested in utilizing the ATA
  • Continue work with the US Air Force to conduct experiments
  • Examine how the ATA could serve as a collaborating sensor to the USAF space surveillance network, helping track space debris and providing data to assist in collision avoidance in orbital space.
  • Investigate opportunities to work with other scientific, governmental, and commercial entities who might find the capabilities of the ATA of value (and we will happily accept good suggestions from the public!).

What is the Allen Telescope Array (ATA)?
The Allen Telescope Array (ATA) is a “Large Number of Small Dishes” (LNSD) array designed to be highly effective for “commensal” (simultaneous) surveys of conventional radio astronomy projects and SETI (search for extraterrestrial intelligence) observations at centimeter wavelengths.  In short, the ATA represents a relatively new approach to surveying the radio spectrum through an array of small dishes rather than the more conventional very large (and expensive) dish approach.

Why did the ATA go into hibernation?
An April 22, 2011 letter from SETI Institute CEO Tom Pierson describes the reason behind the hibernation

Are my donations tax-deductible?
Yes!  Gifts originating in the U.S. are tax-deductible under IRS regulations.  International donors should contact their government for information on tax deductions for charitable gifts to U.S. based charities.

Is this the same as giving to SETI Institute at
Yes, but note that general donations or TeamSETI membership contributions made on provide unrestricted funds that may go to any number of SETI-related projects.  Funds contributed on will go specifically towards bringing the ATA out of hibernation and resuming the search.

How are supporters recognized? contributors are recognized on the SETIstars website.

Can I suggest someone for inclusion in the Featured SETIstars?
Yes! Please make your suggestion using our submission form.

Can I donate anonymously?
Yes, there is a checkbox to toggle anonymous donation on the donation page.  An anonymous donation means that SETI Institute will not publish or share your name on any donor roster.

Can my company, school, or organization help?
Yes!  Community fundraisers are a great way to generate more giving.  In the future we hope to release tools that help to specifically track the efforts of teams, classes, and other groups.

How is SETIstars being operated?
SETIstars is being operated by the SETI Institute, third party partners, and volunteers. You can help!

How is this different from other community fundraising efforts?

Many non-profit organizations look to their constituents for support. Individuals have supported the SETI Institute from the beginning, by volunteering their time and expertise, as well as with financial support. However, our need is urgent and we have launched SETIstars to formalize the significant giving that has already happened since the announcement of ATA’s hibernation and to be the start of a broader community engagement strategy for the SETI Institute. Future plans for SETIstars are developing and are exciting. We welcome your thoughts on how to make this initiative cutting edge.

How does this relate to setiQuest?
setiQuest is a community involvement initiative that will lead to a significant improvement in our ability to search for other intelligent civilizations in the cosmos, and in the process, to use SETI to change the world. You can participate as a software developer, signal detection algorithm developer, or a citizen scientist. setiQuest is not a fundraising initiative and therefore serves a different purpose than SETIstars.

How does this relate to TeamSETI?
TeamSETI is an annual membership program for supporters of the SETI Institute. SETIstars fundraising challenges are focused on specific goals. TeamSETI members are encouraged to support SETIstars initiatives.

If you would like to become a TeamSETI member and want your SETIstars donation of $100 or more applied towards a Complimentary Individual membership, please forward your SETIstars gift confirmation email and let us know you’d like to join our Team. We will be thrilled to have you in the TeamSETI family. For more information on TeamSETI, the TeamSETI website, and associated membership benefits, please visit

What more can I do to help?
We are looking for all sorts of help and our “Support our work” page lists a few ways.

Ready to Contribute? Click here