We're going hunting for aliens, and you can help

Doin' it right

Scientists are planning a massive venture to search for alien life, as part of a new project backed by Professor Stephen Hawking.

The venture, funded by Russian entrepreneur Yuri Milner to the tune of $100 million, will be the biggest search for extraterrestrial life ever conducted.

The project will take place over 10 years, and anyone who manages to successfully find alien life will earn themselves a $1 million reward. It will be a two-pronged initiative using both telescopes and open data to search the stars for life.

As part of Breakthrough Listen, scientists will have access to two of the world's most powerful telescopes - the Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia, USA and the Parkes Telescope in Australia - which are 50 times more powerful than telescopes that have been used before in the search for alien life.

Take us to your leader

A second part of the program, Breakthrough Message, will be an international competition to create messages best representing planet Earth, to be sent into space.

The data collected by the project will also be made available for the public to see. In fact, the software and hardware used for Breakthrough Listen will be compatible with other telescopes around the world, letting the public join in the search.

"As well as using the Breakthrough Listen software, scientists and members of the public will be able to add to it, developing their own applications to analyze the data," reads the announcement.