It is the most intensive search for alien life yet.

Famous physicist Stephen Hawking and Russian businessman Yuri Milner are injecting $100m and a whole lot of brain power into the search for intelligent extra-terrestrial life.

The project is called Breakthrough Listen.

Two of the world's most powerful telescopes - one in the US the other in Australia - will eavesdrop on planets orbiting the million stars closest to Earth - and the 100 nearest galaxies.

Astronomers will be scanning space and listening out for potential radio signals coming from civilisations far beyond our solar system.

The search is said to be 50 times more sensitive and cover 10 times more of the universe than any previous hunt for life.

So, are we on the brink of a brave new world discovery? Or is the mission a waste of money?

Presenter: Sami Zeidan

Guests:

Seth Shostak - Senior Astronomer and Director at the Center for the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence Research.

Francisco Diego - Senior Research Fellow, Department of Physics and Astronomy, at University College London.

Professor Matthew Bailes - Pro Vice Chancellor at the Swinburne Centre for Astrophysics & Supercomputing. He is tasked with searching for alien life as part of the Breakthrough Listen initiative via the Parkes telescope.

Source: Al Jazeera