Science will find strong indication of alien life within a decade, NASA chief scientist Ellen Stofan said, while in about 20 to 30 years, humans will be able to witness definitive evidence of such life.
“We know where to look, we know how to look”
“I think we’re going to have strong indications of life beyond Earth within a decade, and I think we’re going to have definitive evidence within 20 to 30 years. We know where to look. We know how to look. In most cases we have the technology, and we’re on a path to implementing it. And so I think we’re definitely on the road,” Stofan said, as quoted by Space.com.
Former astronaut John Grunsfeld, associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, is singing the same tune.
“I think we’re one generation away in our solar system, whether it’s on an icy moon or on Mars, and one generation [away] on a planet around a nearby star,” Grunsfeld said.
There is water beyond Earth
NASA’s recent missions have found that the solar system contains water in surprising places. It is a widely known fact that water is a strong foundation of life. With this, scientists believe that there are other habitable places out there in space.
“NASA science activities have provided a wave of amazing findings related to water in recent years that inspire us to continue investigating our origins and the fascinating possibilities for other worlds, and life, in the universe. In our lifetime, we may very well finally answer whether we are alone in the solar system and beyond,” Stofan said in a separate report from NASA.
She said NASA missions were able to see abundant chemical elements in water – hydrogen and oxygen – in space. Astronomers have also seen water in clouds between stars, beneath planetary systems and in atmospheres of giant planets orbiting the stars.
Water was also found in comets and asteroids, in dwarf planets like Ceres, and in the atmospheres of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. Water was also surprisingly found on the icy moons of Jupiter and Saturn; Ganymede, Europa and Callisto around Jupiter, and Enceladus and Titan around Saturn, Stofan outlined.
Life on Mars
On April 7, NASA announced its selection of three proposals to develop and manufacture ultra-lightweight (ULW) materials to be used in further exploration of possible life on Mars.
“Lightweight and multifunctional materials and structures are one of NASA’s top focus areas capable of having the greatest impact on future NASA missions in human and robotic exploration. These advanced technologies are necessary for us to be able to launch stronger, yet lighter, spacecraft and components as we look to explore an asteroid and eventually Mars,” said associate administrator for the agency’s Space Technology Mission Directorate, Steve Jurczyk.
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