Saturday, August 13, 2011

Life imitates the movies: Jodi Foster comes to the aid of the search for aliens

Actress Jodie Foster memorably played a scientist searching for alien life in the 1997 film "Contact." Now, she's helping out the real-life search for signs of life in outer space.

Foster is among 2,441 private donors who came to the rescue of the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) Institute, according to a report by Budget issues had forced the nonprofit to shut down its Allen Telescope Array earlier this year.

Wrote Foster in a statement: "Just like Ellie Arroway (her character is 'Contact), the ATA is 'good to go' and we need to return it to the task of searching newly discovered planetary worlds for signs of extraterrestrial intelligence. The Allen Telescope Array could turn science fiction into science fact, but only if it is actively searching the skies. I support the effort to bring the array out of hibernation."

The institute has reached its $200,000 fund-raising goal to keep the telescopes operating until the end of the year. In the long term, SETI officials hope to receive funding from the U.S. Air Force in exchange for using the array to monitor "orbital objects" that might pose a threat to the International Space Station or other satellites.

Up next for Foster: playing the head of state on an alien planet in Neill Blomkamp's "Elysium."  The film, also starring Matt Damon, is due in theaters in the spring of 2013.

Special thanks to Andy for posting a link to this item on Facebook.

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