The programme kicks off with “Breakthrough Listen” to track signals with access to two of the world’s most powerful telescopes Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia, the USA, and Parkes Telescope in New South Wales, Australia.
To help answer that question, Breakthrough Initiatives announced their plan to conduct a 10-year worldwide search effort to find life beyond Earth.
The initiative was launched on the 46th anniversary of the first manned Moon landing. “It is important to us to know if we are alone in the dark”.
Are there other life forms out there in our mystifying universe is perhaps one of the most fascinating questions we can ask ourselves and that science works endlessly to discover. “We are alive, we are intelligent, we must know”, the author of “A Brief History of Time” noted.
Ex-physicist turned businessman, Russian billionaire Yuri Milner is providing the funds for the project, while physicist Stephen Hawking plays an advisory role for the development. The SETI Institute, the largest group now searching for alien life, doesn’t get money from the government.
According to Hawking the universe if infinite and there has to be life other than ourselves there and somewhere intelligent life may be watching us.
The pair said Monday the $100 million “Breakthrough Initiatives” program funded by Milner will harness computer power as never before in a search of the heavens.
Milner’s check will go to support a team of researchers, based at the University of California, Berkeley, tasked with collecting more data from outer space in a single day than previous efforts collected over an entire year. The new project will track the center of our Milky Way galaxy, millions of closest stars, as well as the 100 closest galaxies.
“It’s a huge gamble, of course, but the pay-off would be so colossal… even if the chance of success is small”, the astrophysicist said. That will lead into Breakthrough Message, which will task itself with developing the content of messages to be sent from humans to intelligent life collectives elsewhere.
Milner promised that all the information gathered from the Listen project will be open source.