$100 Million Reward To Find Alien Life?

Alien Life, Are We Alone?
Alien Life, Are We Alone?

Is it just a matter of time before we discover alien life; that we’re really not alone in the universe?

Ok, I don’t usually delve into aliens, or alien theories … but when Stephen Hawking asks the question, I listen.  Or perhaps better said, when Stephen Hawking sets up a $100 million project to find alien life, all the sudden my ears perk up!

But this shouldn’t be much of a leap from the previous posts on the Kepler project finding new Earth-like planetary systems, or the (hopefully) future Europa project looking for life near hydrothermal vents in deep liquid water oceans.  After all, it really is the same question … is there life in the universe other than on planet Earth?

The question is important, and the answer even more still.  If we find it to be “yes”, then we need to find out if they are alive or aware and if we can communicate with them.  If the answer is “no”, then we need to understand just how important and precious our lives on Earth really are.

Either way the answer is both important and intriguing.

Their are two short videos in the below article.  I included Stephen’s here but I hope you check out the second one as well.  It is a great summary of where we are as a species and how 6 short years may have changed our entire perspective on “life”.

Check out the Washington Post Article below and share if it resonates with you as it did with me.




On Monday, famed physicist Stephen Hawking and Russian tycoon Yuri Milner held a news conference in London to announce their new project: injecting $100 million and a whole lot of brain power into the search for intelligent extraterrestrial life, an endeavor they’re calling Breakthrough Listen.

…… “The universe is apparently bulging at the seams with the ingredients of biology,” Marcy explained. Indeed, Marcy and other scientists have found a surprising number of Earth-like exoplanets in recent years — rocky planets the right distance from their suns to support water — suggesting that life as we know it is at least possible, if not probable, all over the universe.

…… That being said, the group of esteemed scientists gathered on Monday didn’t make any bold claims about immediately hunting down intelligent life-forms — or ever finding them at all, for that matter. But the likelihood of success is about to shoot up exponentially, because right now we’re barely trying.

Dr. Frank Drake, the founder of SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence), poses for a portrait at his home in Aptos, California, Friday, February 27, 2015. Dr. Drake also created the Arecibo Message - a simple binary encoded message broadcast into space by the Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico in 1974. The message encodes several things: the numbers 1 to 10, the basic chemistry of life on Earth, the double helix structure of DNA, Earth's population, a graphic of the Solar System, a human figure, and a graphic of the Arecibo radio telescope and it's dish' dimensions. (Photo by Ramin Rahimian for The Washington Post) …… The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) has been active since 1960, when scientist Frank Drake — another of the great minds joining Breakthrough Listen — sought out radio signals from neighboring stars. But even the largest group looking for life, the SETI Institute, doesn’t receive any government funding, and this particular aspect of space exploration now relies on dwindling support from universities and private organizations.

…… According to Milner and the scientists joining him, the project will allow scientists to collect as much data on SETI in a day as they now do in a year. The data will be made available to the public, so anyone can help search for the radio signals that could be used to track down alien civilizations. Meanwhile, others at Breakthrough Listen will be working to improve our own signaling techniques, brainstorming the best way to send a message out into the cosmos.

…… “I’ve been thinking about this since I was a child, reading Carl Sagan’s book ‘Intelligent Life in the Universe,’ ” Milner told The Post. “The year that I was born, 1961, that was a big year in science — the first man was launched into space, and I was named for him. And Kennedy made his famous speech about putting man on the moon.”

…… “I think it’s a low probability but high impact event,” he said. “Irrespective of what the answer is, it’s a powerful answer. At any given time, we should apply the best technology and use the best instruments available to search for that answer.”

Rachel Feltman runs The Post’s Speaking of Science blog.

Written by Rachel Feltman, Washington Post

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