The Russian venture capitalist Yuri Milner announced today at a press conference that he would give $100 million over the next ten years to help fund a new search for alien life. Milner made the announcement with a group of scientists including Stephen Hawking, who he calls the "ideological leader" of the project.
The project is called Breakthrough Listen, and with Milner's investment, researchers will be able to examine 1 billion stars surrounding Earth and 100 galaxies outside of the Milky Way. Milner told Business Insider that this means the Breakthrough team will be looking at 10 times more of the sky than ever before. And unlike other searches for extraterrestrial life, Breakthrough Listen aims to find radio signals from aliens.
Those previous searches have been largely unsuccessful, but Milner wants to change that. "We have a responsibility to not stop searching," Milner told the New York Times. "It should always be happening in the background. This is the biggest question. We should be listening."
But where did he find so much money to drop? The 53-year-old amassed his millions as an early investor in Facebook, Twitter, Spotify, Groupon and other Internet companies.