The Daily Evening Item's SETI Article

The Daily Evening Item had a front page story covering our local SETI team on August 5th, 1999. We're reprinting it here (along with its picture) with verbal permission from the story's author, Jack Butterworth.

There's a bona fide search for extraterrestrial life in Saugus starting this summer -- and it's a search that anyone with a computer can join.

Eric Brown, owner of, a website design firm, started a search team a week ago and has already snagged 10 participants, including some from the Kasabuski Arena and Chamber of Commerce.

Participants obtain downloaded software and data from the University of California at Berkeley.

The data is obtained from radio-telescopes worldwide, receivers for galactic static and, just maybe, a message from another world like the one in Carl Sagan's novel "Contact".

The data takes the place of a screen saver. When the user goes to lunch or goes home for the evening, the data is run for possible intelligent communication.

The university began making the data available earlier this year, Brown says, and he started circulating fliers in Saugus last week.

The odds of finding anything conclusive are slimmer than the odds of winning the Big Game, but the search doesn't cost anything and there's always the chance that "you may contribute to a major discovery", as Brown writes in a flier.

Brown would like to see Saugus' team garner more members than other areas, so there's a competitive spirit involved. "Anyone with almost any type of computer can join, and your computer will only work on the project during idle periods."

"It's fun and nonprofit," said Brown, who invites people who want more information to look it up on on the Internet. "I figured I'd set up a local team and see what happens."

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Image & story copyright © 1999 Daily Evening Item
Reprinted with permission