Wednesday, December 8, 2010
This image Dr. Frank Drake was taken in 1990.
Almost at the same time when Morrison andCocconi were discussing on the alien signal an astronomer Frank Drake was performing his ownresearch on interstellar communications. He was a junior staff member of National Radio Astronomy Observatory, NRAO, situated in West Virginia. Drake was a graduate student of radio astronomy and he once detected a strong radio signal from the direction of Pleiades, which seemed to be an artificial signal. Analysis of a few weeks led him to the conclusion that the signal was originated on the Earth itself but the possibility of it being an alien signal remained strong in his mind.
Later in the month of March in year 1959, Drake calculated that the radio telescope at which he detected the signal was capable to detect a signal transmitted from a distance of about 10 light years. He thereafter noted, within a distance of 10 light years from sun there are many sun like stars. This was a good reason for Drake to begin search for the existence of an alien intelligence.
Drake proposed to use the new radio telescope at NRAO for the search of extraterrestrials to the director of NRAO. His proposal was accepted and Drake dubbed a venture named “Project Ozma”.
For cost saving reasons, Drake and his colleagues concentrated on thehydrogen 1420 MHz band. This was the frequency at which the radio telescopes most commonly work, so the alteration required was very less.
Project Ozama Radio Telescope
Having a fear for their respect, Drake and his colleagues kept the Project Ozmaa secret. However, when the project was revealed, public support turned to give a positive response in terms of support and valuable donations in terms of money as well as equipments.
When Drake heard about the publication of Morrison and Cocconi’s article he was very pleased that such prominent researchers provided a theoretical support for searching at the same frequency that he chose, even though for different reasons.
Ozma began to operate in April, 1960 concentrating at the reception of signalsfrom the two closest sun like stars namely, Tau Ceti and Eridani.