Science

Alien Hunt: Astronomers To Use Chilean Very Large Telescope In Finding Life In Aplha Centauri

By Donna Marie Lapena Padua , Jan 11, 2017 09:52 AM EST
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Stephen Hawking and Yuri Milner plan to send tiny spacecrafts to the stars

The search for civilizations outside Earth and alien hunt has now taken a big leap forward as Breakthrough Initiatives has recently signed the European Southern Observatory (ESO) Very large Telescope. Both research programs will fund the enhancement of the VLT which will also improve the device's search ability. Following these, scientists are now expecting their alien hunt to be faster and easier.

Just recently, the billion-funded Breakthrough Initiatives has made an agreement with ESO with regard to the use of the Very Large Telescope. The instrument is said to be used by the research program to enhance the search for exoplanets in the Alpha Centauri, the nearest star system to Earth. Funds will then be provided to improve the VLT Imager and Spectrometer for mid-Infrared (VISIR) instrument which are mounted at the VLT for the instrument to boost its ability to search for life outside the Earth.

Breakthrough Initiatives and its benefactor, Yuri Milner, are focusing on alien hunt on Alpha Centauri. The program's Starshot project was revealed to be developing low-cost yet ultra-fast spacecraft that will travel to the said star system which they is expected to push through in 20 years. The project will look for habitable exoplanets and will carry on with its alien hunt goals. According to researchers, there are reasons why they believe in the existence of life in the Alpha Centauri which is only 4.37 light-years away from the Earth.

Following the wait before the launch of Starshot's nano spacecraft, Breakthrough Initiatives decided to utilize instrumentations available on Earth so as not to stop the progress of their stints for alien hunt. It was revealed though that even if the scientists believe in the ability of the Alpha Centauri to support alien life, they are not really sure if there are any planets existing inside the star system. The Breakthrough Initiatives is then planning to use the Very Large Telescope to detect any signs of potential planets inside the Alpha Centauri.

There are hurdles though that scientists are trying to overcome. According to Next Big Future, the Alpha Centauri is so close to Earth that its brightness serves as a challenge to researchers in determining the existence of planets around its star. This is the reason why Breakthrough will fund the upgrade of the VLT, for it to reduce stellar light and be able to see clearly what is inside the system. The upgrades though reportedly will cost a fortune.

According to ESO, the agreement recently signed by the ESO opens the possibility of a future collaboration again with Breakthrough regarding the use of the upcoming Extremely Large Telescope. As per report, the new instrument can be used in exploring exoplanets which are at greater distances. The instrument is being developed as the VLT is said to be efficient only in studying nearer exoplanets like those that might exist in Alpha Centauri.

Experts then expect for the upgrades to be completed within the next few years. The Very Large Telescope is said to start its search in 2019. Breakthrough is then hoping to find potentially habitable exoplanets and continue with its alien hunt to see if there will be planets other than Earth that humans can soon visit.

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