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Nov 14, 2017 01:46 PM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

Russian billionaire funding mission to find alien life on Saturn's moon

Enceladus has a surface temperature of below - 200 degrees but is thought of having a large hot sub-surface ocean that shoots up plumes of material hundreds of miles up

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Russian billionaire and extraterrestrial life explorer Yuri Milner has declared that he will launch a space mission to Saturn’s moon Enceladus to discover the existence of alien life forms.

The billionaire made the declaration while speaking at a conference ‘A New Space Age' in Seattle. As per a report by Russia Today, Milner, whose tech firm is based in California and Moscow, has pledged over Rs 1,300 crore to the Breakthrough Initiative, an organisation founded by him to explore space and develop new modes for space travel.

Speaking at the conference, Milner added that his team had identified three possible locations for alien life in the solar system i.e. under the surface of Mars, Jupiter’s moon Europa, and Saturn's moon Enceladus.  Based on this Milner is planning to launch a privately funded exploration mission to the Enceladus way ahead of NASA's mission that, as per Milner will be costlier and would take at least another ten years.

Milner, however, made it clear that scope of finding intelligent life form was very low and was quoted saying in the report that he expects to find “not intelligent life, maybe microbial life, or something more serious.”

The interest on Enceladus, which is located over 200 crore kilometres from earth arose in the scientific circles after NASA’s Cassini mission produced highly detailed pictures of the satellite.

The 500-km diameter Enceladus has a surface temperature below  -200 degrees, but is thought of having a large hot sub-surface ocean that shoots up plumes of material hundreds of miles up.

Many upcoming missions are planning to analyse the plumes that rise from beneath with the expectation that they could contain evidence of some life forms.

Milner will join the list of billionaires like Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos who are developing their own ventures into outer space. The rising interest by billionaires into exploring space is also challenging the domination of state-controlled agencies in the field.
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