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alienAre you creative, interested in extraterrestrials and would like to win one million dollars? Read on.  Now that Yuri Milner, Russian Billionaire, has pledged $100,000,000 in “Breakthrough Listen” to increase our telescope time in the the hunt for extraterriestials, I’m hoping we will find some little green men or some big pink women.  This new grant was announced by Stephen Hawking, who said in his TED talk that the biggest hope for our planet is to find another planet to inhabit.

There are two other interesting aspects to the story, one very exciting, and one not so much.

Some people may think that the idea of finding life on other planets is a little creepy, and that is certainly a part of this story, but in a way that may surprise many.  Geoff Marcy,  a former Professor of Astronomy at University of California,Berkeley was initially the Principal Investigator of “Breakthrough Listen,” until he was required to step down October 14, 2015 due to sexual harassment accusations.  Buzzfeed broke the story on October 9.  Four women came forward with allegations starting in 2010, and according to the newsletter for women astrologists, it was a known fact in the field that he is not a mentor that a female astrologist should have.

No news yet on the new PI for Breakthrough Listen, who reported only one line on their site,  “On October 12, 2015 Geoff Marcy resigned as Principal Investigator of the Breakthrough Listen project. His resignation has been accepted.” There has been no news either on the effect all this has had on Marcy’s marriage.

The exciting news about Breakthrough Listen is that they are now looking for people to create the  messages that could be read by an advanced civilization. The message must be in digital format, and should be representative of humanity and planet Earth.  The competition rules have yet to be announced, but what has been announced is that the prize for this is approximately $1,000,000.

You may remember the plaque designed for extraterrestrials from 1972, shown here.  What will the new message be?  I’m just hoping whatever it is, the message will be to respect women.  And hopefully the response won’t be like that old Twilight Zone episode about the extraterrestrial book found called “How to Serve Man.”  That turned out to be a cookbook.



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