Thanks to the economy, we’re no longer scanning the skies for E.T.

ET Will Be Calling But Getting Our Answering MachineAny extraterrestrials trying to get in touch with us are about to get some bad news—a busy signal. Because budget cuts have just taken one of our best tools in the search for intelligent alien life and sent it straight to mothballs.

Scientific American reports that the Allen Telescope Array (or ATA), which was built to pick up possible signals from distant alien civilizations, has been temporarily shut down. The array was meant to be made up of 350 six-meter radio antennas, but by 2007, when construction stopped, only 42 of those dishes had been completed—at a cost of $50 million.

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