Yuri Milner gives the search for extraterrestrial intelligence a $100-million boost
J Thoendell stashed this in Space
You could say that the silence has been deafening. Since its beginnings more than half a century ago, the dedicated search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI) has failed to detect the presence of alien civilizations. But at London’s Royal Society today (20 July), Russian billionaire Yuri Milner announced a shot in the arm for SETI: a US$100-million decadal project to provide the most comprehensive hunt for alien communications so far.
The initiative, called Breakthrough Listen, will see radio telescopes at Green Bank in West Virginia, the Parkes Observatory in Australia, and the Lick Observatory's optical telescope in San Jose, California, scanning around one million stars in the Milky Way and a hundred nearby galaxies. Milner is also releasing an open letter backing the idea of an intensified search; it has been co-signed by numerous scientists, including physicist Stephen Hawking. “In an infinite Universe, there must be other life,” Hawking told luminaries at today's launch event. “There is no bigger question. It is time to commit to finding the answer,” he said.
They're committed to finding the answer even though they don't know if they will like the answer they get.