Searching for ET: Hawking to look for extraterrestrial life

Updated: 2015-07-21 09:12


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Searching for ET: Hawking to look for extraterrestrial life

Professor Stephen Hawking speaks at a media event to launch a global science initiative at The Royal Society in London, Britain, July 20, 2015. [Photo/Agencies]

LONDON - The search for extraterrestrial life received a major boost Monday with the launch of an ambitious $100 million program, backed by famed physicist Stephen Hawking and tech billionaire Yuri Milner.

Combining unprecedented computing capacity with the world's most powerful telescopes, Hawking and the Russian-born Milner seek to intensify the so far fruitless search for life beyond the planet Earth.

It is a coordinated plan to use the latest scientific methods to solve one of mankind's enduring riddles: Are we alone?

Hawking, who speaks using a computer-generated voice due to the effects of motor neuron disease, explained the reason for the project: "We are alive. We are intelligent. We must know."

Milner, who made a fortune through investments in companies like Facebook, said the power of Silicon Valley technology and innovation would be used.

"The scope of our search will be unprecedented: a million nearby stars, the galactic center, the entire plane of the Milky Way and 100 nearby galaxies," Milner told a packed press conference at the Royal Society in London.

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