NASA administrator Charles Bolden has stated that he believes alien life exists and that mankind will encounter it soon.
Maj. Gen. Charles Frank Bolden, Jr., (USMC-Ret.), 12th Administrator of NASA since July 17, 2009, was responding to questions during a media event with a group of British schoolchildren organized by the children’s newspaper First News as part of the show, Hotseat.
According to The Telegraph, one of the students, Carmen Dearing, age 10, asked Bolden if he believed aliens exist.
The NASA administrator responded, saying that he was confident scientists were close to finding alien life beyond our planet because astronomers have discovered many planets similar to Earth that could support Earth-like life.
“I do believe that we will someday find other forms of life or a form of life, if not in our solar system then in some of the other solar systems – the billions of solar systems in the universe.
“Today we know that there are literally thousands, if not millions of other planets, many of which may be very similar to our own earth. So some of us, many of us, believe that we’re going to find evidence that there is life elsewhere in the universe.”
He explained that one way that scientists might find alien life is through the James Webb telescope expected to be launched in 2018. The telescope will allow astronomers to examine the atmospheres of alien planets and search for “atmospheric signatures” that indicate presence of life.
Bolden’s statements come after NASA chief scientist Ellen Stofan announced in April that NASA scientists were optimistic they would find evidence of extraterrestrial life in the next two or three decades.
“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.”
But she added, “We are not talking about little green men. We are talking about little microbes.”
Bolden also told the children that Area 51 exists, but that contrary to popular belief, the U.S government has never kept aliens there.
“There is an Area 51. It’s not what many people think. I’ve been to a place called that but it’s a normal research and development place. I never saw any aliens or alien spacecraft or anything when I was there. I think because of the secrecy of the aeronautics research that goes on there it’s ripe for people to talk about aliens being there.”
But the NASA chief’s comments about Area 51 are unlikely to rein in speculations about secret UFO and E.T.-related goings-on at the facility. The speculations, as Bolden acknowledged, were due mostly to the secrecy of activities at the site in Nevada, especially during the 1950s when there were reports of sightings of strange crafts around the facility and some, including former employees, claimed they had seen aliens recovered from the Roswell, New Mexico, site at Area 51.
The U.S. government first acknowledged existence of Area 51 in 2013 through documents released after a Freedom of Information Act request (FOIA).
The documents revealed that the site was used for secret projects, including development of the U-2 spy plane in the 1950s.
Bolden also told the children that NASA was planning to send humans to Mars in the 2030s, and that scientists and engineers were working to overcome technical challenges, such as providing adequate toilets for astronauts.
“The goal is to have us there in the early 30s. They won’t land, they’ll probably do an orbital mission like the first time we went to the Moon. We’ve got to get the Martian surface ready for human habitation.
“We’re not going to send humans down to the surface of Mars to build the habitats, the houses, we’re probably going to use robots.
“Our technical abilities are not what we want it to be now. We need better life support systems, we need a toilet that’s not going to break on the way there, then when we get to the Martian surface we need (a toilet) that’s going to work over and over again. Toilets are a big deal.”
The inquisitive audience also asked what he thinks about conspiracy theories that claim that NASA faked moon landings. He answered that he understands the doubts but affirmed that NASA did go to the moon.
“I understand people have doubts. I have no doubts we went to the moon and I have no doubts that we’re going to mars in your lifetime.”
[Images: Wikimedia Commons]