Astrophysicist Stephen Hawking and Russian entrepreneur Yuri Milner announced a new $100 million initiative to search for extraterrestrial life.
In a live webcast from London, the physicist and the entrepreneur announced their initiative to build the "Breakthrough Listen" initiative which will work with two radiotelescopes, one in Australia and one in the US, to analyze data and offer a $1 million prize for anyone who is able to find evidence of extraterrestrials.
"There is no bigger question. It's time to commit to finding the answer to search for life beyond earth. The Breakthrough Initiatives are making that commitment. We are life, we are intelligent, we must know," Hawking said.
"In the 21st century we will find out about life at a galactic scale," Milner said.
"To understand the universe, you must know about atoms, about the forces that bind them, the contours of space and time, the birth and death of stars, the dance of galaxies, the secrets of black holes, but that is not enough," Hawking said.
Hawking added that the search must answer what he calls the biggest question, the existence of intelligent extraterrestrial life.
"This idea cannot explain everything. It can explain the light of stars, but not the lights that fly from Planet Earth. To understand this light, you must know about life, about minds. We believe that life arose spontaneously on earth, so in an infinite universe there must be other occurrences of life. Somewhere in the cosmos, perhaps, intelligent life might be watching these lights of ours, wondering what they mean. Or do our lights wonder the lifeless cosmos?" Hawking added.