On July 20, 2015, celebrated British physicist Stephen Hawking along with billionaire Yuri Milner announced an ambitious project to strengthen the search for extraterrestrial life using computing capacity and the most powerful telescopes.
Hawking said at the event, “We are alive. We are intelligent. We must know”. The physicist talks using a computer-generated voice owing to the motor neuron disease that he suffers from.
On the other hand, Russian-billionaire Milner said that the power of Silicon Valley technology and other innovations would be used for the search attempts.
In a special press conference held at the Royal Society in London, Milner was quoted saying that the search will be unprecedented and will include “million nearby stars, the galactic center, the entire plane of the Milky Way and 100 nearby galaxies”.
Organizers also said that the project named “Breakthrough Initiatives” is the biggest search for scientific life. The project has been endorsed by many other famous British scientists.
The project includes a “listening program”, which will be an effort to analyze vast amounts of radio signals for searching signs of life.
Also, there’s a “messaging program”, which will include $1 million prizes for those digital words that are chosen as best for representing planet Earth.
However, these messages won’t be sent to many scientists, including Hawking fear that messages that are sent to space may incite the aggressive reaction from aliens.
The project is supported by 64-meter Parkes Telescope in New South Wales, Australia and Robert C Byrd Green Bank Telescope from West Virginia in The US.