Paul Allen sponsors search for alien life

Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen has donated $13.5m to help fund the search for extraterrestrial life. The California-based SETI Institute, which is dedicated to the search for life beyond Earth, said the donation from Allen, who co-founded Microsoft with Bill Gates, would be used to create a radio telescope array of more than 200 satellite dishes that will measure signals from space, inform

"It will expand our understanding of how the universe was formed," says Mr Allen, a keen fan of science fiction.

Space exploration has seen renewed interest recently with the NASA Mars rovers and President George W Bush's outline plans for an ambitious space initiative. Funding the search for ET is a drop in the ocean for Mr Allen, whose estimated worth is $36bn.

It was Mr Allen who persuaded Bill Gates to drop out of Harvard and join him in creating Microsoft in 1975. He then quit full-time at Microsoft in 1983 after being diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease, report BBC.

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