By Lewis Ball, Director, CSIRO Astronomy and Space Science.
This article originally appeared on The Conversation.
It’s already an exciting time for Australia in the field of astronomy and space science. But we’ve just received an astronomical boost with the announcement of CSIRO’s role with the Breakthrough Prize Foundation’s (BPF) US$100 million dollar search for extraterrestrial intelligence, called Breakthrough Listen.
CSIRO has signed a multi-million dollar agreement to use its 64 metre Parkes radio telescope in the quest to search for intelligent life elsewhere in the universe.
Breakthrough Listen will be allocated a quarter of the science time available on the Parkes telescope from October 2016 for a period five years, on a full cost recovery basis.
The Parkes observations will be part of a larger set of initiatives to search for life in the universe. The ET hunters will also use time on the Green Bank telescope in West Virginia, operated by the US National Radio Astronomy Observatory, and a telescope at the University of California’s Lick Observatory.
CSIRO has the only capability for radio astronomy in the southern hemisphere that can deliver the scientific goals for the new initiative. The Parkes Radio Telescope is essential ...