Are there other life forms out there in our mystifying universe is perhaps one of the most fascinating questions we can ask ourselves and that science works endlessly to discover.
World-renowned scientist, Stephen Hawking, agrees and whether the answer to the question is yes or no, he feels the value in the endeavor is essential to our humanity and indefinitely worthwhile.
That is why Hawking has joined with Russian billionaire, Yuri Milner, to launch a massive $100 million project known as the Breakthrough Initiative to search for alien life in ways like never before. The initiative will be conducted over a ten-year period and will utilize two extremely powerful telescopes to achieve their task. The Green Bank Telescope, located in West Virginia and the Parkes Telescope in New South Wales, Australia, will help in the surveying of ten times the amount of sky scanned in previous efforts for this kind of experiment.
The United Kingdom’s National Academy of Science called this “the most powerful, comprehensive, and intensive” search of this nature ever conducted.
As part of the Breakthrough Initiative, $1 million will be provided to the person or team that can create the best message “represent humanity and planet Earth” and will also make any data found during the exploration available to other scientists for analysis and further development.
Hawking told BBC, “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.”
Are we alone? As far as most of us are concerned. Yes, we are. In some of our minds I am sure “aliens” still look like those green light bulb-looking figures you see in movies. Or maybe they have tentacles and are covered in goo like Will Smith battled in Independence Day. However, with a project of this magnitude underway, who knows what we will discover.