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The search for extraterrestrial life gets a big boost

Photo by NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center via Flickr Creative Commons

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Physicist Stephen Hawking, along with an impressive stable of scientists, will be teaming up with a Russian billionaire to tackle one of mankind’s most pressing questions: are we alone?

Tycoon Yuri Milner and Hawking made the announcement Monday at a London news conference. Milner has pledged to inject $100 million into the search for intelligent life in our universe.

The initiative, called Breakthrough Listen, will give the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI) unprecedented access to special radio telescopes, designed to detect communication signals in space. In the past, telescope use was limited to just one search a year, due to limited resources.  

Berkeley scientist and SETI co-founder Dan Werthimer tells Take Two he’s hopeful the new funds will help researchers intercept alien transmissions.

“If we learn the universe it teeming with life, and we get on the galactic internet, and we talk to civilizations a billion years ahead of us, we can learn what’s in our future. People call it the archeology of the future.”

Press the play button above to hear more from Dan Werthimer.