First contact with a strange evolution may now be in the
hands of a Russian billionaire.
Yuri Milner, an industrialist and endeavor capitalist, is
throwing $100 million at the search for extraterrestrial intellect. Powerful
radio and visual telescopes will be drafted to listen and look for interstellar
broadcasts, Milner announced July
20 at a news conference in London. The records will be made publicly available
so that anyone can lend a hand in the hunt for E.T.
The plan is to listen and look for radio and laser transmissions
from 1 million of the sunâ€™s contiguous neighbors in accumulation to 100 of the nearby
galaxies. The initiative, named Breakthrough Listen,
guarantees up to 25 percent of the time available on two radio telescopes:
Green Bank in West Virginia and Parkes in Australia. These instruments should
be able to pick up transmissions as influential as aircraft radar approaching
from any one of the 1,000 nearest stars.
And just in case aliens think about radio technology to be
passÃ©, the Automated Planet Finder at Lick Observatory near San Jose, Calif.,
will be on the lookout for observable flashes from laser-based communications.