NASA Says Alien Life Is Out There And It’s Going To Find It: The Four Search Targets

For all the dancing around the subject the space agency has undertaken for decades, NASA now acknowledges it is committed to finding alien life — and they’re going to do it in the next 10 years. In a recent TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) lecture, a key NASA official admitted that the agency wasn’t taking the search for extraterrestrials seriously, until now. In fact, NASA isn’t simply going to mount a vigorous search for alien life, it has already pinpointed where it will direct its primary efforts.

The Daily Star reported last week that NASA’s planetary director James Green revealed at a TED lecture that a new emphasis has been placed on finding alien life. He announced that NASA was now “hot on the pursuit” of extraterrestrials and has identified four so-called “hotspots” where it is believed the evidence of life can be found. They are the following.

“The planet Mars and then three moons of the outer planets: Titan, Europa and small Enceladus.”

Why these four spots inside our Solar System? According to Green, they have the necessities for the emergence and sustenance of life — water, energy, and organic material. Or, as in the case of Titan, there is a suitable fluid substitute for water that, given the right conditions, may be conducive to providing a platform for living organisms.

Green explained that although it is looking more and more as if Mars might only hold evidence of past life, there is now increased interest in discovering if the planet once sustained living organisms. Knowing that water was once abundant on Mars, scientists are eager to search for traces of alien life that could have lived on the Red Planet in the past.

“We’re going to launch a series of missions to begin that search for life on Mars,” he told the audience. “And now it’s more appealing than ever before.”

Enceladus, which orbits Saturn, fires off sheets of ice as its parent planet’s gravity pulls on it. Green noted that the tidal pull generates enough heat to melt ice and create an ocean. It does the same for the core of the moon, producing a thermal entity analogous to the hydrothermal vents in Earth’s oceans. Green says that, since life exists at these vents on Earth, despite the water being alkaline or acidic, there is a chance organisms might flourish on Enceladus as well.

The same can be said for Europa, a moon in Jupiter’s train, which has an encapsulated ocean where life could also exist.

But Titan is somewhat different, and, because it has no water, could point to truly alien life forms. Green told his audience, “If there’s any place in the solar system where life is not like us, where the substitute of water is another solvent it could be methane. It could be Titan.”

Green said all of these worlds would be visited by NASA exploratory craft within the next ten years, that the question of whether or not Earth organisms were alone in the Solar System would be known in the next decade.

The search for alien life has gotten a boost of late due to all the evidence suggesting that Mars at one time hosted a good deal of water, including a massive shallow ocean (per The Guardian), on its surface. More recently, as CNN reported, study results at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York suggested that even scorching Venus may have at one time housed water as well — and may have been home to living organisms.

But even if alien life is not found inside the Solar System, the search for extraterrestrials will continue among the stars. In fact, as the Inquisitr reported earlier in September, with the announcement that Proxima Centauri was the parent star to a rocky planet — Proxima b — inside its habitable zone, speculation quickly swirled around the exoplanet as a possible host to alien life.

[Image via Shutterstock]

Share this article: NASA Says Alien Life Is Out There And It’s Going To Find It: The Four Search Targets
More from Inquisitr