It had been at least decades, or centuries that scientists and researchers have claimed life in other planets other than in planet Earth. Recently, an Australian telescope, Parkes radio telescope has joined the search for alien life. They have joined the $100 million project in search of foreign creatures as announced last November 7. Started by the Breakthrough Listen, the Parkes dish is the third telescope to join the project.
The first two were the Green Bank telescope in West Virginia and Automated Planet Finder at Lick Observatory in Northern California. The dish is 210-foot-wide which is operated by Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization in the state of New South Wales. It also helped relay live video of the Apollo 11 moon landing back to Earth last July 1969.
Yuri Milner, founder of the Breakthrough Initiatives which included Breakthrough Listen said that the addition of the Parkes telescope is an important milestone. Those major instruments are the ears of the planet for signs of other civilizations. The Parkes telescope was pointed towards the Proxima Centauri star system for possible signs of life. The Proxima Centauri, with 4.2 light-years away from our own sun, it is the closest star.
Just this August, it was found out that there is an Earth-size planet that orbits the star’s habitable zone. It is therefore possible that the planet could be capable of sustaining life. It is also a target of Breakthrough Starshot that aims to explode tiny nanoprobes toward the system at 20 percent the speed of light using lasers.
The chances of another planet hosting life is quite a rare chance, said Andrew Siemion, director of the University of California, Berkeley’s Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence Research Center. To find a civilization just 4.2 light-years away would change everything.
Milner and a group of researchers including the famous Stephen Hawking announced Breakthrough Listen in July 2015. The aim is to search 1 million stars closest to the sun as well as the 100 nearest galaxies to the Milky Way.
Recently, Breakthrough Listen announced teaming up with China’s new five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical radio Telescope, the largest telescope in the world.