British cosmologist Stephen Hawking on Monday launched the biggest-ever hunt for intelligent life in the cosmos in a 10-year, $100-million (143-million-euro) mission to scan the skies. The Breakthrough Listen project, supported by Russian Silicon Valley entrepreneur Yuri Milner, will be the most dominant, widespread and thorough scientific search ever started for signs of extra-terrestrial intelligent life. Stephen Hawking at the launch event at the Royal Society science academy in London, said "In an infinite universe, there must be other occurrences of life. Somewhere in the cosmos, perhaps, intelligent life may be watching," "Either way, there is no bigger question. It's time to commit to finding the answer, to search for life beyond Earth. We must know."
The plan is to look for radio and laser broadcasts from 1 million of the sun’s nearby neighbors in addition to 100 of the nearby galaxies. This project promises up to 25 percent of the time accessible on two radio telescopes: Green Bank in West Virginia and Parkes in Australia. These tools should be able to pick up transmissions as dominant as aircraft radar coming from any one of the 1,000 nearest stars. The initiative is associated with the Breakthrough Message project, an international struggle to generate digital messages that characterize humanity. There is no promise to send any messages into space, and the project should trigger debate about whether humans should be sending messages at all out into the void.
The money, to be spent over the next 10 years, will also provide assistance in developinh the software required to powerfully eavesdrop on our fellow galactic citizens.