FACEBOOK founder Mark Zuckerberg and Dr Stephen Hawking are joining forces in the hunt to make contact with ALIEN life.
The two men, joined by Russian entrepreneur Yuri Milner, will be listening to signals from the planet Proxima B – which is four light years from Earth and is thought to have the right conditions for life.
The trio of some of the world’s richest and intelligent men are funding a $100m (£76million) project dubbed “Breakthrough Listen”, the Mail Online exclusively reported.
The project will use the world’s most powerful telescopes to listen to sounds on Proxima B.
Astronomers learned last month that our nearest star, Proxima Centauri, is the sun to the planet which has similar conditions to Earth.
Yuri Milner told the Mail Online: “It came only a few months after Stephen Hawking and I, with Mark Zuckerberg’s support, launched our Breakthrough Starshot project, which aims to launch a tiny spacecraft to Alpha Centauri within a generation.
“At the time, we hoped there was a planet in the Centauri system, but we didn’t know.
“Now we have a definite target. That makes the mission feel more tangible.”
Although Proxima B is four light years away it is thought future generations of spacecraft could travel there in the next few decades.
Early in October the Breakthrough Listen team will look for radio emissions from the planet that differ from the natural background noise.
Parkes Observatory in Australia will be used for picking up signals.
Andrew Siemion, Director of Berkeley SETI (Search For Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Research Center said: “It is difficult to predict how long the search will take, but we know that all the conditions necessary for life to arise on Earth are ubiquitous in the universe.”
He added: “Terrestrial technology is a challenging problem.
“Our notion of what types of emission are produced by technology is informed by our own technology…our own technology presents a significant interfering background.’
Professor Stephen Hawking has always been certain alien life is out there.
In the film “Stephen Hawking’s Favorite Places, he said: “Gazing at the stars I always imagined there was someone up there looking back,
“As I grow older I am more convinced than ever that we are not alone.”
The Breakthrough Listen team has already collected data on other star systems using the Green Bank Radio Telescope in West Virginia and Lick Observatory’s Automated Planet Finder in California.