British cosmologist Stephen Hawking [has] launched the biggest-ever search for intelligent extraterrestrial life in a $100-million, 10-year project to scan the heavens.
Russian Jewish 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. “In an infinite universe, there must be other occurrences of life,” Hawking said Monday at the launch event at the Royal Society science academy in London. “Somewhere in the cosmos, perhaps, intelligent life may be watching. Either way, there is no bigger question. It’s time to commit to finding the answer, to search for life beyond Earth. It is important for us to know if we are alone in the dark.”
The project will use some of the biggest telescopes on Earth, searching far deeper into the universe than before for radio and laser signals. “Breakthrough Listen takes the search for intelligent life in the universe to a completely new level,” said Milner, a former physicist. He said the scan would collect more data in one day than a year of any previous search, tracking the million closest stars, the center of our Milky Way galaxy and the 100 closest galaxies.
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. “It’s a huge gamble, of course, but the pay-off would be so colossal… even if the chance of success is small,” the astrophysicist said.
However, the possibility of finding life had effectively risen a billionfold through the identification of billions of Earth-like planets in the Milky Way, he said.
“Is there life out there? We may not answer it but this gives a bigger chance that it may be answered in our lifetime,” he said.
[TBC: Dave Hunt's comments from the April 1996 newsletter still apply, "Any possibility that intelligent life on earth or elsewhere evolved by chance can be quickly dismissed. Eminent British astronomer Sir Fred Hoyle points out that "even if the whole universe consisted of organic soup" from which life is made, the chance of producing the basic enzymes of life by random processes without intelligent direction would be approximately one in 10 with 40,000 zeros after it. The impossibility of that number can be seen in the following illustration. The likelihood of reaching out and by chance plucking a particular atom out of the universe would be about 1 in 10 with 80 zeros after it. If every atom in this universe became another universe, the chance of reaching out at random and plucking a particular atom out of all of those universes would be 1 in 10 with 160 zeros after it.
Hoyle then explains why this completely impossible theory is still honored, and accuses the evolutionists of self-interest, unfair pressure, and dishonesty: "This [mathematical impossibility] is well known to geneticists and yet nobody seems to blow the whistle decisively on the theory...because of its grip on the educational system....You either have to believe the concepts, or you will be branded a heretic."
More recently in 2014 a "more earthlike planet" was trumpeted in the media, though they admit that the discovery of "Kepler 186f" shows a planet 40% larger than earth, further from its sun and which only "receives one-third the energy from its star that Earth gets from the sun, placing it nearer the outer edge of the habitable zone. On the surface of Kepler-186f, the brightness of its star at high noon is only as bright as our sun appears to us about an hour before sunset" (https://www.nasa.gov/ames/kepler/nasas-kepler-discovers-first-earth-size-planet-in-the-habitable-zone-of-another-star). The DVD "The Privileged Planet" is a helpful source for additional information on the issues.]