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Large amounts of SETI data could soon be lost forever

By T.K. Randall
June 7, 2022 · Comment icon 16 comments

The old SETI@home servers are no longer supported. Image Credit: CC BY 2.0 Kenny Louie
Data collected during the early days of the SETI@home project is now at risk of being lost.
While these days distributed computing systems are nothing unusual, back in 1999 when researchers at the University of California, Berkeley launched the SETI@home project to analyze astronomical data for signs of extraterrestrial intelligence, it was something truly unique and special.

Anyone with an Internet connection was able to download special software and take part in the endeavor by allowing their computer's spare processing power to work through the SETI data.

The project quickly gained a loyal following, with tens of thousands of people taking part.

Sadly, though, all good things must come to an end and the crowdsourced computing aspect of the project has been on indefinite hiatus since 2020.
It also turns out that much of the data collected during the early 2000's is now stored in obsolete formats and on server hardware that became defunct and unsupported years ago.

This means that there is a very real possibility that it could be lost forever.

"These machines are no longer made by a company that no longer exists and are running on an operating system that no longer exists," program director Eric Korpela told Motherboard.

"They served admirably for a decade or more. I think it's kind of sad if they just fade into history without some evidence that they were there."

"We run through things so fast that they get lost unless we make a direct effort to save them."

Source: | Comments (16)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #7 Posted by Brandonchpr 2 years ago
Of course it did. Time travel is as far as we know, impossible. 
Comment icon #8 Posted by the13bats 2 years ago
The only thing seti ever scored was someone wrote "wow!" Next to some unknown peak which as far as i know still just an unknown peak. Seems thats been saved.
Comment icon #9 Posted by Buzz_Light_Year 2 years ago
I ran that program on my super fast 333mhz Compaq PC with a 33.6 baud modem. That was after I upgraded the modem from a 28. I think Aliens got into that machine as the system clock would gain time instead of losing it.
Comment icon #10 Posted by Hyperionxvii 2 years ago
Is there anything worth saving on those mechanical drives, which are going to fail like they all do eventually?
Comment icon #11 Posted by Hyperionxvii 2 years ago
Not on that film I watched! 
Comment icon #12 Posted by NCC1701 2 years ago
1.Plug in external HD 2.Open file manager 3. Right click on the data folder.  4. Now choose the external drive to save it.
Comment icon #13 Posted by astrobeing 2 years ago
But you could misplace the external HD! Then all that precious SETI data will be lost forever!!!
Comment icon #14 Posted by astrobeing 2 years ago
I've enjoyed his followers doing the usual "explaining" his predictions to us disbelievers as to why they're correct even though they're wrong. For example Titor predicted that there would be no more Olympic games after 2004, therefore his followers are claiming that the Olympics games that have been happening since then aren't "legitimate" Olympics.
Comment icon #15 Posted by Hammerclaw 2 years ago
Large amounts of negative results may be lost................(one lonely cricket chirping)
Comment icon #16 Posted by badeskov 2 years ago
Indeed. They follow the usual ... Cheers, Badeskov

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