by Ed Mazza December 12, 2017 (huffingtonpost.com)
• Earlier this autumn, a long cigar-shaped asteroid named ‘Oumuamua’ was confirmed as the first known object from outside the solar system. [It was first reported in the ExoNews on November 24th.]
• An organization called “Breakthrough Listen” will spend $100 million to detect evidence of an extraterrestrial transmitter using the Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia. While it should only take less than a minute to detect, they will spend ten hours observing the ‘asteroid’ across four radio bands.
Earlier this autumn, an asteroid named ’Oumuamua captured the attention of the scientific world when it was confirmed as the first known object from outside the solar system. Now, Breakthrough Listen wants to see if it’s the first sign of life beyond our planet.
On Wednesday, the $100 million project to detect potential evidence of extraterrestrials plans to use the Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia to observe the asteroid across four radio bands for 10 hours.
“Most likely it is of natural origin, but because it is so peculiar, we would like to check if it has any sign of artificial origin, such as radio emissions,” Avi Loeb, professor of astronomy at Harvard University and an adviser to Breakthrough Listen, told The Guardian. “If we do detect a signal that appears artificial in origin, we’ll know immediately.”
According to a news release, it will take less than a minute to detect a transmitter with the power of a cellphone.
“We don’t want to be sensational in any way, and we are very realistic about the chances this is artificial,” Yuri Milner, the Silicon Valley billionaire behind the Breakthrough Initiatives, told Scientific American. “But because this is a unique situation, we think mankind can afford 10 hours of observing time using the best equipment on the planet to check a low-probability hypothesis.”
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