Yesterday, at The Royal Society in London, World renowned scientist Stephen Hawking and Russian billionaire Yuri Milner announced unprecedented $100 million project to determine the search for extraterrestrial intelligence. The entire funding is donated by Yuri Milner for the global initiative called ‘Breakthrough Listen.’
What did Stephen Hawking say?
According to a BBC report, Professor Stephen Hawking said “Somewhere in the cosmos, perhaps, intelligent life may be watching these lights of ours, aware of what they mean. Or do our lights wander a lifeless cosmos — unseen beacons, announcing that here, on one rock, the Universe discovered its existence. Either way, there is no bigger question. It’s time to commit to finding the answer — to search for life beyond Earth. We are alive. We are intelligent. We must know.”
The 10-year project will have access to two of the world’s most powerful telescopes which are the Parkes Telescope in New South Wales, Australia and the Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia to survey the million stars nearest to Earth. This project called the ‘Breakthrough Listen’ will cover 10 times more sky than previous projects, the investigators said. Researchers expect to find noise in the otherwise “calm zone” that is usually concealed by the Earth’s atmosphere.
Yuri Milner said “The scope of our search will be unprecedented – a million nearby stars, the galactic centre, the entire plane of the Milky Way and 100 nearby galaxies.” He also said that the research would be entirely transparent and would hope depend on open-source software, so that the findings can be shared throughout the world.
Yuri Milner is planning to back the Breakthrough Listen for at least 10 years, but scientists think that it may take longer to determine the search for extraterrestrial intelligence. In addition to Breakthrough Listen he is also funding a competition called ‘Breakthrough Message.’ It will allow individuals from all over the world to submit digital messages that represent humanity and planet Earth that could be sent into the universe. But Professor Stephen Hawking warned “It might not be a good idea to send our own signals, to let our neighbors know we are around.”