A Russian entrepreneur named Yuri Milner has recently announced a financial partnership with famed scientist Stephen Hawking, in an operation the two have dubbed ‘Breakthrough Listen’. This $100 Million dollar investment – according to a recent report – will produce both software and hardware designed to plumb the depths of space in search of telltale disturbances on the radio frequency potentially indicative of sentient life.
The software will be compatible with most telescopes, allowing nearly anyone to participate in the hunt for extraterrestrial life. During the study itself, researchers will “scan at least five times more of the radio spectrum… approximately 100 faster than the previous speed.”
Specialists in the field have argued for years that the existence of extraterrestrials is a statistical certainty; while the skeptics community has often retorted that discovering or interacting with any of the universe’s potential myriad forms of life is highly unlikely. Whether or not this new software and hardware bundle – as well as the research project itself – is of any success will only be known with enough time, patience, and luck.
These forms of scientific research are known as SETI, or Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, projects. These typically involve monitoring radio waves for signs of blips or disturbances, but the Breakthrough Listen program is slated to provide more sensitivity to the monitoring instruments themselves.