Breakthrough Expands To Include Interstellar Communication

Of the several science prizes nobody remembers, the Breakthrough Prize is funded by Yuri Milner, Russian venture capitalist.  Milner is now expanding his science projects to include seeking and communicating with intelligent life.  On Monday, not coincidentally the 46th anniversary of the first moon landing, Milner and several science figures announced the formation of the Breakthrough Initiatives.  There are two initiatives, Listen and Message.  Listen will be a 10-year $100 million initiative for a more extensive search for extraterrestrial intelligence than has previously been attempted.  Both radio and laser signals will be sought.  It is worth noting, as Roger Pielke, Jr. and Martin Rees (who is on the Breakthrough Initiatives Board) have, that we’re not ready for a response to this message, and any extraterrestrials out there may not be easy to understand (and vice versa).

The other Breakthrough Initiative is Message, focused on what exactly we might send to extraterrestrials.  It will be an international competition for developing methods to communicate with aliens in a way that well represents humanity.  Deadlines and more details will be announced at a later date.

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