Mountain View’s SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Life) Institute–responsible for crowdsourcing its work to citizens’ computers via a screensaver–needs money after losing government funding, the San Jose Mercury News reported today. “Honestly, if everybody contributed just .03 extra cents on their 1040 tax forms, we could find out if we have cosmic company,” one SETI scientist said. But another alternative has been repeatedly proposed on Twitter: Kickstarter!
SETI needs about $5 million over the next two years to reopen a telescope facility. That’s more than five times the amount of money raised by the largest Kickstarter project to date. Dean McBeth, a digital strategist at Wieden + Kennedy in Portland, kindled the idea with a tweet yesterday: “SETI suspended for no $. Can we ask alien life to micro-fund on Kickstarter?” he asked. Twitter users from Minneapolis to Italy proposed the same thing. “Very sad to learn SETI is closing. They should do a Kickstarter to get their $5 mill. I’m serious,” tweeted Londoner Tom Critchlow.
Betabeat reached out to Kickstarter to ask if they were in communication with the alien life-seeking institute, but a representative did not immediately respond for comment. We’ll update if they do.
KickstartSETI.com is still available!