A $100mil Bet on the Search for Alien Life


Alien life aficionados hoping for a First Contact situation in their lifetimes can now feel a bit more assured. Thanks to a Russian billionaire, there’s been a huge investment into the field, called ‘Breakthrough Listen’, focused on figuring out whether we’re the only intelligent life in the universe.

From PopSci:

Now the hunt for alien life is getting reinvigorated, thanks to a huge investment from Silicon Valley’s Yuri Milner. The Russian billionaire has been supporting research in physics, mathematics and the life sciences through the Breakthrough Prize, which is the largest scientific award in the world, and now he’s investing $100 million to complete the most extensive search for life beyond Earth to date. The project, called Breakthrough Listen, is endorsed by physicist Stephen Hawking and led by SETI pioneer Frank Drake as well as other top-notch scientists.

“We believe that life arose spontaneously on Earth,” said Hawking in a press conference. “So, in an infinite universe, there must be other occurrences of life… We are alive, we are intelligent, we must know.”

Check out Breakthrough Listen‘s website for more information, including an open letter signed by Yuri Milner, Hawking, and other luminaries like chess prodigy Magnus Carlsen.

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