Russian entrepreneur and venture capitalist Yuri Milner and cosmologist Stephen Hawking have intensified the search for intelligent life elsewhere in the Universe, announcing funding of $100 million for the project.
The Breakthrough Prize Foundation program will use three of the largest and most capable radio telescope’s in the world – the Parkes Radio Telescope in Australia, the Green Bank Telescope and Lick Observatory in the US.
The search will be 50 times more sensitive, and cover 10 times more sky, than previous hunts for alien life.
Hawking said the project raised hopes for answering the question of whether humanity has company in the Universe.
“It’s time to commit to finding the answer, to search for life beyond Earth,” he said. “Mankind has a deep need to explore, to learn, to know. We also happen to be sociable creatures. It is important for us to know if we are alone in the dark.”
The project will be the first to scan the entire range of a crucial 10GHz frequency band.
Bill Condie is a science journalist based in Adelaide, Australia.
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