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At a cost of only $12 million per year, SETI was a scientific bargain. But, sadly, funding was cut to zero in September 1993, when the SETI radiotelescopes had been listening for less than one year. Since then it has run at a reduced level, under the auspices of Project Phoenix, Project Argus, and other privately funded searches
Most of our budget goes to pay the salaries of students and staff members. Other expenses include travel to Arecibo and conferences, network bandwidth, hardware maintenance, and one-time purchases like the air conditioner in our machine room. Almost none of our budget is spent on hardware (desktop and server computers, disks, tapes, telescope electronics etc.); these items have been generously donated by corporate sponsors.
The point behind Seti is even if a advanced alien race does not use radio waves theres a good chance they used them in some point in their history since they are so easy to make and use. They cant really take back the signals they sent out far in the past. We might not be able to listen in on what they are saying now but we might be able to pick up a hundred year old TV show they made.