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OTRC: Jodie Foster aids SETI's search for aliens

Jodie Foster appears in a promotional photo from the 1997 film, 'Contact.' (Warner Bros. Pictures)

Jodie Foster is hoping to make contact with extraterrestrials off-screen, as the actress wrote a big check to help save the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) Institute.

Earlier in the year, the nonprofit was forced to shut down its Allen Telescope Array, which searches for alien signals, due to budget issues. Foster, who played fictional SETI scientist Ellie Arroway in the 1997 film "Contact," was one of the 2,441 private donors who helped put the telescope back to work.

"Just like Ellie Arroway, the ATA is 'good to go' and we need to return it to the task of searching newly discovered planetary worlds for signs of extraterrestrial intelligence," Foster wrote in a statement accompanying her donation. "The Allen Telescope Array could turn science fiction into science fact, but only if it is actively searching the skies. I support the effort to bring the array out of hibernation."

SETI reached its goal of raising over $200,000 last week, which will allow them to operate the telescope through to the end of the year. The institute's CEO hopes to secure long-term funding from the U.S. Air Force, who could use the array to "track orbital objects" which might be a threat to the International Space Station or other satellites.

Foster rose to fame in her 1973 film "Taxi Driver," where she played a teenage prostitute. She has also starred in "The Silence of the Lambs," "Contact" and "Panic Room."

Foster has also directed several films including "Little Man Tate," "Home for the Holidays" and "The Beaver." She also has two directorial projects in development, "Cockeyed" and "Flora Plum."

Keeping in the extraterrestrial realm, Foster will appear in Neill Blomkamp's "Elysium" as a head of state on an alien planet. The film also stars Matt Damon and is slated to hit theaters on March 8, 2013.

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