The search for alien life got a massive boost a few days ago when Russian billionaire and prominent venture capitalist Yuri Milner announced that he’s investing $100 million in a decade-long project that will search for radio and light signals emitted by extraterrestrials. Known as Breakthrough Listen, this unprecedented initiative is also being backed by Stephen Hawking.
Scientists are about to embark on the biggest search yet for alien life, sweeping the skies for signals of civilizations beyond our solar system with $100 million from a Russian billionaire and the backing of physicist Stephen Hawking. Whether we are alone in the universe has engaged minds down the ages, and the recent discovery that there may be tens of billions of habitable planets in our galaxy alone has added urgency to finding an answer. “There is no bigger question. It’s time to commit to finding the answer – to search for life beyond Earth,” Hawking told reporters at the program’s launch in London on Monday. Some of the world’s largest radio telescopes will be used to scan for distinctive radio signals that could indicate the existence of intelligent life. Astronomers will listen to signals from the million star systems nearest to Earth and the 100 closest galaxies, although they do not yet plan to send messages back into space.