Breakthrough Listen teams up with NOAC for search of extraterrestrial life

Breakthrough Listen are working with the National Observatory of China and three telescopes to investigate life beyond Earth.
By | Published: October 13, 2016 | Last updated on May 18, 2023
China’s Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Telescope (FAST)
China Daily/ Qin Gang

The National Astronomical Observatories of China (NAOC) is working with the Breakthrough Listen Initiative to search for evidence of intelligent life outside of Earth using NAOC’s brand-new Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Telescope (FAST),  telescope.

The collaboration between the two was announced through a joint statement at a signing ceremony at NOAC headquarters in Beijing. In their announcement, they said they looked forward to “a long and productive scientific collaboration” and called it “one of humanity’s greatest quests.” 

Along with FAST, the teams will be using the Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia and the Parkes Observatory in New South Wales, Australia.

Professor Jun Yan, the Director General of NOAC, said in his statement at the announcement that the FAST telescope achieved first light in September of 2016 and is considered one of the most powerful tools in the search of potential life beyond Earth. The telescope was created specifically to search for radio wave-emitting technology, which is the most common way to search for extraterrestrial intelligent life, a field commonly known as SETI. 

Yuri Milner spent $100 million to launch Breakthrough Listen in July of 2015  and is the most widespread search for intelligent life ever.