New app will let you search for alien life

By Valeria Bigurra Peñavera

Stephen Hawking decided last week that it's time to start looking for extraterrestrial life. Now, thanks to an app, the whole world can be part of the search.

Last week, renowned theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking unveiled the “Breakthrough Listen” project, which aims to substantially boost the search for intelligent life in the universe over the course of 10 years. This will be possible thanks to a hefty US $100 million donation, compliments of Russian internet billionaire Yuri Milner who owns shares in companies such as Facebook and Alibaba.

So far the most substantial initiative for the search for alien life has been the SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) program at California’s Berkeley University, which will be receiving the massive donation over the course of a decade. This will likely be the most comprehensive search for signs of intelligent life in the universe.

Having announced the project at the Royal Society, Britain's academy of Sciences in London, Hawking stated that it was “time to commit to finding an answer, to find life beyond Earth.”

Stephen Hawking

“We must know," he added.

The project will use the most powerful observatories in the world – located in Australia – to search for signs of lasers and electromagnetic spectra. And now, thanks to an app also designed by the University of Berkley, Android users can participate in the search for extraterrestrial life.

The application is called "Open Infrastructure for Network Computing" or “BOINC " and can be downloaded from the Google Play store. It allows users from all over the world to help sort the images sent from two of the telescopes from space.

One advantage is that the app is not limited to this project, and it allows users to participate in other scientific endeavors.

app search universe

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