NASA’s Chief Scientist Ellen Stofan Predicts Finding Alien Life Within 10 Years

NASA’s chief scientist, Ellen Stofan, predicts that within 10 years, and the few decades that follow, they will have definitive proof of extraterrestrial life and alien existence.

Speaking at a panel discussion, which was focused on NASA’s efforts to search for habitable worlds and alien life, Stofan shared a few words with the public: “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’s colleague, Jeffery Newmark, NASA’s interim director of heliophysics, agreed with her predictions.

“It’s definitely not an if, it’s a when.”

At the hour-long event on Tuesday, five of NASA‘s top scientists shared their latest big discoveries, which mostly had to do with the presence of water on extraterrestrial bodies like Mars, Ganymede, Enceladus, and Europa.

The alien life to be found, though, won’t be “little green men,” according to Stofan, but “little microbes.”

John Grunsfeld, former astronaut and associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, shared Stofan’s confidence in finding extraterrestrial life in our solar system and beyond.

“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.”

According to Grunsfeld, there are environments in the solar system and Milky Way Galaxy that could support life.

Several findings include the possibility of a warm ocean existing on Saturn’s moon, Enceladus, liquid water beneath the icy shells of the Jupiter moons Ganymede and Europa, and the proof of oceans once being present on Mars. This is exciting information to the scientists because they believe that with the presence of water comes the probability of life.

So far, NASA has found over 5,000 planets that can sustain life, with the possibility of many more to be found.

And as for the alien life forms, Stofan’s claim of impending breakthroughs seems to echo NASA astronomer Kevin Hand’s predictions last year of a big discovery being close.

“I think in the next 20 years we will find out we are not alone in the universe.”

[Image via Daily Star/Getty]