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Is Stephen Hawking's Hunt For Aliens Worth $100 Million? No

24/07/2015 16:19 BST | Updated 24/07/2016 10:59 BST

As NASA made family introductions yesterday, presenting Earth 2.0 to us via a very patchy teleconference, I couldn't help but wonder about what (or who) we were actually saying hello to.

While it was exciting to listen to experts reel off Earth 2.0's physical specifics, quite the norm for planet family gatherings, what I really wanted to know was, if there was a human 2.0 listening in on the call.

It was a question on everyone's mind and eventually the panel addressed that all-important issue by saying that our new cousin is the "closest thing we have to what somebody else might call home."

Knowledge is power and knowing if we are alone or not in this universe makes planet earth and all its inhabitants, that much more powerful.

I don't of course mean this in a we're-going-to-take-over-the-universe way, but in a lets-be-progressive way.

It is for all intensive purposes to our advantage to know whether company will be joining us anytime soon because let's face it, as a race; we don't deal very well with the unexpected.

And this is the point of Stephen Hawking and Yuri Milner's new alien-hunting 'Breakthrough' initiatives, to find out a little bit more about human 2.0.

Well, I say human 2.0 but in actual fact, alien-life could simply exist in the form of single-celled microbes that may never make the trip over to Earth. Or they may. We simply don't know.

Still, Hawking and Milner believe that these creatures (if we can call them that) are worth $100 million (£64 million).

That's where I disagree with the two pioneers. There are a lot of problems here on boring old Earth 1.0 that would hugely benefit from all Milner's zeros.

Yes, I believe we should find the answer to all the questions we have about extra-terrestrial life.

Yes, of course it's an area of science that requires attention, of the monetary kind.

Yes, I'm grateful that we have pioneers including Hawking and Milner who are willing to invest.

But what about the more immediate problems on our doorstep that simply refuse to budge despite the policies, brain power, human capital and money we've thrown at it.

For the moment, earth is our home and she's not short of viruses to fight or climate change-conundrums to solve.

Given that we literally have nowhere else to go, it's good idea to throw a few more zeros (with a one in front of course) at Earth 1.0's issues. They're major ones.

Yes, you could (and many have) argue that projects like the Breakthrough initiatives may serve to one day give us a home away from home - God knows we need it.

But scientific breakthroughs, even the fastest ones, happen at a slower pace than our microwave-mind sets would like.

I'm not sure investing $100 million in what may or may not exist is a good idea (at this point in time). A smaller sum, yes, most definitely.

But as I am planning to stick around on this planet for quite some time, I'd rather science prioritise Earth 1.0.

Maybe it's a selfish thought. And maybe I'll change my mind when human 2.0 shows up. But until then, I'd like us to keep going and invest more in the problems mankind 1.0 faces.