Yuri Milner made his fortune from savvy early investments in technology start-ups such as Facebook, and he said he believes that other civilisations could teach us how to handle challenges such as allocating natural resources. Reports from CBC reveal Russian billionaire Yuri Milner is making a $100 million donation to the SETI Institute to aid them in this search.
The project will use powerful radio telescopes around the world, but it will also tap into the vast supercomputing power of millions of everyday PCs in people’s homes and offices around the world.
Others in the scientific community aren’t so sure that the search will yield results.
The initiative was announced by Milner on July 20 in London at The Royal Society, where some of the best known names in the world of physics and astronomy including Stephen Hawking, Astronomer Royal Martin Rees, SETI research pioneer Frank Drake, UC Berkeley astronomy professor Geoff Marcy and postdoctoral fellow Andrew Siemion, and foundation chairman Pete Worden were present as well. Dan Werthimer, chief scientist of the [email protected] project, said that it is a big question, are we alone? “This is about five times the amount of money now spent worldwide on SETI, part of which will be used to purchase dedicated time on telescopes that previously we were lucky to get only a day or two per year”, he added. During the study itself, researchers will “scan at least five times more of the radio spectrum… approximately 100 faster than the previous speed”. Even though a majority of humans express they have not encountered any life outside of Earth, scientists call the potential discovery inevitable. Now, technology is available and it is hoped that answer to the question will be found. The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) Institute, space agencies and other institutions are joining the hype. Rees will oversee the advisory board of Breakthrough Listen.
For those who are more technologically minded, the software for analysing data from the search can be rewriten to make improvements, so arm-chair ET-watchers can develop their own SETI-style apps.
The Search Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) projects usually look for radio or optical signals that appear to be coming from an artificial sources.
The software will be compatible with most telescopes, allowing almost anyone to participate in the hunt for extraterrestrial life.