Prof Stephen Hawking backs venture to listen for aliens

Prof Stephen Hawking has launched a new effort to answer the question of whether there is life elsewhere in space. The venture is said to be the biggest yet in support of the search for extra-terrestrial intelligence. The 10-year effort will listen for broadcast signals from a million of the stars closest to Earth.The £64m ($100m) initiative was launched by the Breakthrough Initiatives group at the Royal Society in London.

Speaking at the launch, Prof Hawking said: “Somewhere in the cosmos, perhaps, intelligent life may be watching these lights of ours, aware of what they mean.” Or do our lights wander a lifeless cosmos – unseen beacons, announcing that here, on one rock, the Universe discovered its existence. Either way, there is no bigger question. It’s time to commit to finding the answer – to search for life beyond Earth.

“We are alive. We are intelligent. We must know.”

Those behind the initiative claim it to be the biggest scientific search ever undertaken for signs of intelligent life beyond Earth. They plan to cover 10 times more of the sky than previous programmes and scan five times more of the radio spectrum, 100 times faster. It will involve access to two of the world’s most powerful telescopes. – the Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia and the Parkes Telescope in New South Wales, Australia. Source: Prof Stephen Hawking backs venture to listen for aliens

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