The struggle for racial equality and women’s rights has finally reached the final frontier – interstellar space.
Hold up before you dismiss this as some crackpot shit.
Russian Physicist/billionaire Yuri Milner has teamed with Stephen Hawking and The Royal Society to launch a $100 million project called Breakthrough Initiatives. It is the biggest scientific push ever organized to find intelligent life in the universe.
Other famous scientists like Martin Rees, Frank Drake, Geoff Marcy, Pete Worden and Ann Druyan are on board with hopes of accelerating the search for intelligent life.
In their arsenal for the search are the two world’s most powerful telescopes. The experts will use the Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia and the Parkes Telescope in New South Wales Australia, which are 50 times more powerful than previous telescopes used to search for life.
|This plaque was sent billions of miles into outerspace
with the launch of 1972’s Pioneer 10 spacecraft
Over the next ten years, Hawking and Breakthrough Initiatives will also have access to the Lick Telescope to Scan deep into the universe for signs of otherworldly broadcasts.
Here on earth, Breakthrough Initiatives is asking earthlings to come up with the best broadcast message to send out to alien civilizations who might be searching for life as we are.
Not only is the UK’s arm of the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI) entering the contest, but the well-known organization wants to make a political statement while doing so.
During a recent forum at the British Science Festival, Dr. Jill Stuart, an expert in Space Policy at the London School of Economics, noted that previous messages sent to outer space could be viewed as racist and sexist.
So, Dr. Stuart and a group of her colleagues at UK’s SETI are going after a $1,000,000 prize being offered by Breakthrough Initiatives for “Best New Message.” The team will focus on creating a universal statement to deliver to E.T.
Dr. Stuart noted that past messages sent out on the Pioneer 10 spacecraft launched into space in 1972, reflected a white man, with a white woman being placed in the background. Furthermore, the images were only inclusive of humans from Western society.
“The plaque shows a man raising his hand in a very manly fashion while a woman stands behind him, appearing all meek and submissive,” Dr. Stuart said. “We really need to rethink that with any messages we are sending out now. Attitudes have changed so much in just 40 years.”
Some of the scientist at the forum were opposed to sending out any message to aliens and that it could be unwise to attract their attention in the event of a hostile encounter.
Here are some cool facts about the power of the technology Stephen Hawking and the other scientists with Breakthrough Initiatives will use totry to detect life beyond earth – if it even exists.
If a civilization based around one of the 1,000 nearest stars transmits to us with the power of common aircraft radar, Breakthrough Listen telescopes could detect it.
If a civilization transmits from the center of the Milky Way, with any more than 12 times the output of interplanetary radars we use to probe the Solar System, Breakthrough Listen telescopes could detect it.
From a nearby star (25 trillion miles away), Breakthrough Listen’s optical search could detect a 100-watt laser (energy output of normal household light bulb).