Explore for E.T. gets economic boost

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 sun’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 passé, the Automated Planet Finder at Lick Observatory near San Jose, Calif., will be on the lookout for observable flashes from laser-based communications.

Explore for E.T. gets economic boost

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