SANTA CLARA (CBS SF) – Jill Tarter, the astronomer who was a prototype for the lead character in Carl Sagan’s novel Contact, will be honored with a disco serenade at her retirement party in Santa Clara this weekend.

The Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence, known as the SETI Institute, will host a conferences this weekend at Hyatt Regency in Santa Clara. The main event, Tarter’s retirement Gala, will feature a performance of “Shining Star” by Sheldon Reynolds, of Earth Wind and Fire.

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Tarter is a U.C. Berkeley PhD. who is perhaps best known for using radio technology to search for extra-terrestrial life. She advised Jodi Foster on the lead role of Ellie Arroway in the 1997 film version of Contact.

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Tarter currently serves as the Director of the Mountain View-based SETI Institute.

Tickets to this weekend’s event, known as SETIcon, can be purchased online through Tuesday, or at the venue.

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