Physicist Stephen Hawking has invested an unspecified amount of his own money in a $100 million project meant to search the universe for any existing alien life forms. It’s a grand gesture from the man who has previously warned the world that if aliens are out there, we may not want to meet them.
The project is titled “$100 million Breakthrough Listen” and was launched by Yuri Milner, a Russian tycoon.
Professor Hawking gave a statement explaining that there are no modern day questions bigger than those related to alien life forms. He firmly believes that this is the right time to commit and find the answer to whether or there’s life to be found outside our planet.
Many field experts are certain that there are alien life forms out in the universe. Geoffrey Marcy, an astronomer from the University of California (Berkeley) gave a statement saying that the universe seems to be full of ingredients that support life.
Frank Drake, chairman emeritus at the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence Institute, gave a statement of his own informing that when he added modern day data into his 1961 equation for calculation how many potential alien civilizations would be able to communicate with humans, the results showed that there are at least 10.000 of them.
It is important to note, however, that the experts working on Breakthrough Listen are focusing on just that – listening. They currently have no plans of sending out any more of our own signals into outer space.
Hawking and Milner, who are the main investors of the project, have announced that the research team will spend the next 10 years scanning for any radio signals that may be coming from star systems close to the Earth, as well as from the planet’s closest 100 galaxies.
Professor Hawking also explained that while the hunt for radio signals sent by intelligent alien life forms has been seen as quixotic in the past, an increasing number of studies have shown how simple life forms can survive, and even thrive in the most hostile places found on our planet.
These findings, along with the discovery that there are thousands of planets that are orbiting other stars, have all energized the scientific community and have caused experts to estimate that our galaxy (the Milky Way) alone hosts billions of Earth-like planets.
While the physicist fully supports the new project, he still says that we should exercise caution in our search for alien life forms as the ones we may potentially encounter may be billions of years more evolved than we are and perceive humans as nothing more than annoying bacteria.
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