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The surprising donation that’s bringing us one step closer to alien life

The surprising donation that’s bringing us one step closer to alien life

Who knows what extraterrestrials we might discover with this money.

We could be even closer to discovering alien life thanks to a massive new donation.

A whopping $200 million has been donated to the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence Institute (SETI), which explores the possibilities of extraterrestrial life.

The generous contribution came from the estate of the late tech entrepreneur and Qualcomm co-founder Franklin Antonio, and promises to significantly advance the Institute's quest for signs of intelligent life beyond Earth.

Haitong Yu
Haitong Yu

The SETI was established in 1984 as a non-profit research organization and is comprised of over 100 scientists and 173 programs. It's been scanning the cosmos for decades, looking for indications of advanced civilizations.

However, despite extensive efforts, any signs of extraterrestrial technology remain elusive - no doubt due to the vastness of the universe and the relatively short period that humans have been in search of such lifeforms.

Antonio, who passed away in May 2022, was not just a benefactor but also a critical part of the SETI team.

Andrew Siemion, director of SETI Research at the University of Oxford, emphasized Antonio's contributions and said: “His extraordinary knowledge of communications technology was invaluable.”

The donation from Antonio's estate has been labelled as a game-changer for the Institute. With an annual operating budget of around $25-30 million, the gift will help secure SETI's operations well into the future. It’ll also support the consolidation of ongoing projects, many of which are focused on making use of super high-tech stuff like advanced data analytics, machine learning and signal detection technologies to hunt for technosignatures (signs of alien technology).

"It will provide our teams the freedom to pursue their own science priorities, and to examine the technological, philosophical and societal impact of their research on our daily lives here on Earth,” said Nathalie Cabrol, director of the Carl Sagan Center for Research.

Baac3nes/Getty Images
Baac3nes/Getty Images

While social media might be full of alleged ‘evidence’ of alien life and UFO sightings, nothing has yet been approved by NASA.

Still, uncovering life outside of our planet is scientifically possible – and many of those who dedicate their lives to finding it are hopeful.

Just last week, an astronomer said he thinks we’ll find alien life within a decade.

Associate Professor at McMaster University in Canada, Jonathon Stone, predicted that a scientific journal will break the news of having claimed to discover evidence of 'life elsewhere' and that it'll happen a lot sooner than we think.

Stone believes the answer to extraterrestrial life lies within current research surrounding exoplanets - which is 'any planet beyond our solar system', according to NASA.

Featured Image Credit: George Pachantouris/Tony Rowell/Getty Images