Professor Stephen Hawking speaks at a media event to launch a global science initiative as Cosmologist Martin Rees and Astronomer Frank Drake look on at The Royal Society in London, Britain, July 20, 2015. REUTERS/Neil Hall
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British cosmologist Stephen Hawking Monday launched the biggest-ever search for intelligent extraterrestrial life in a $100 million, 10-year project to scan the heavens.Russian Silicon Valley entrepreneur Yuri Milner, who is funding the Breakthrough Listen initiative, said it would be the most intensive scientific search ever undertaken for signs of alien civilization.Martin Rees, Britain's astronomer royal and one of the project leaders, said modern technology allowed much more sensitive searches than ever before, though he cautioned against expectations of finding intelligent alien life.The project is allied with the Breakthrough Message initiative, a global competition with a maximum $1 million prize pot to come up with the best message humans could send into the void.Drake said it could take at least 200 years before even the possibility of a reply to "shot in the dark" messages beamed into space.By waiting to find civilization, we could then tailor a "useful message" to send them.
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