Top Scientists: Alien Life Will Be Found In 10-20 Years

Fanghawk

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Top Scientists: Alien Life Will Be Found In 10-20 Years

Chief NASA scientists believe discovering alien life isn't a question of "if" but "when."

We've all felt the sting of scientific predictions that never quite panned out, like how <a href=http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/video-games/editorials/editors_note/643-Where-s-My-Flying-Car>we'd have flying cars within 50 years or <a href=http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/134904-SETI-Predicts-Alien-Life-Should-Be-Discovered-In-20-Years>meet alien races in 20. Usually the issue is we're overly optimistic, but sometimes it works out the other away around. For example, top NASA scientists are re-evaluating those alien life predictions - and there's a pretty solid chance we'll find indications within 10 years.

"I believe we are going to have strong indications of life beyond Earth in the next decade and definitive evidence in the next 10 to 20 years," chief scientist for NASA Ellen Stofan told a Washington panel on Tuesday. "We know where to look, we know how to look, and in most cases we have the technology."

Why so soon, when <a href=http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/134904-SETI-Predicts-Alien-Life-Should-Be-Discovered-In-20-Years>SETI put a strong emphasis on the extra decade just last year? Because <a href=http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/139143-NASA-Curiosity-Rover-Mars-Water>more and <a href=http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/139032-Rosetta-Mission-Suggests-Comets-Did-Not-Provide-Earth-With-Water>more studies <a href=http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/132511-Water-Found-in-Alien-Planets-Atmosphere-Using-New-Technique>are finding, water has a bigger presence in the universe than we first suspected. Liquid water was once believe to thrive in key "habitable zones" a certain distance from the sun, but now our criteria for finding water - and life - has expanded immensely. "We now recognize that habitable zones are not just around stars, they can be around giant planets too," Jim Green, director of planetary science explained. "We are finding out the solar system is really a soggy place."

"We are not just studying water and habitability in our solar system, but also looking for it in planets around other stars," director of astrophysics Paul Hertz added. "Once we get beyond Mars, which formed from the same stuff as Earth, the likelihood that life is similar to what we find on this planet is very low."

Now to be fair, alien life isn't the same thing as intelligent alien life. "We are not talking about little green men," Stofan continued. "We are talking about little microbes." It's more probable to find <a href=http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/139347-Curiosity-DIscovers-Possible-Fossils-On-Mars>fossils of microbial life than Star Trek-like civilizations. Regardless, the idea that we could definitively prove alien life exists is very promising, even within our solar system.

"It's definitely not an if," interim director of heliophysics Jeffery Newmark said, "it's a when."

Source: Washington Post

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Coreless

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Don't they say the same thing every year? That they are "close" to finding alien signals or finding life on other planets? I don't know about anyone else but it seems to me that SETI is starting to get desperate to justify itself.
 

Fanghawk

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Coreless said:
Don't they say the same thing every year? That they are "close" to finding alien signals or finding life on other planets? I don't know about anyone else but it seems to me that SETI is starting to get desperate to justify itself.
This isn't SETI. This is NASA.

Although I suppose if you're considering intelligent life, SETI's prediction might still apply.
 

Lightknight

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If it's just life in general then I'd expect it within just a few years since that opens things up to even just bacteria.

Sentient life though? That's what I think really matters to us. Non-sentient life might as well be just another strange species we found in the rain forest.
 

Coreless

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Fanghawk said:
Coreless said:
Don't they say the same thing every year? That they are "close" to finding alien signals or finding life on other planets? I don't know about anyone else but it seems to me that SETI is starting to get desperate to justify itself.
This isn't SETI. This is NASA.

Although I suppose if you're considering intelligent life, SETI's prediction might still apply.
Yea your right, this is NASA, but I guess the whole idea of finding intelligent extraterrestrial life to me is just starting to seem more and more just a fool's errand.
 

MonsterCrit

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Yawn.. 10-20 years

What a convenient time frame. Because at the lowest end there'll be no one around in 10 years to remember this prediction, and those who made the prediction will likely be further along in their careers that it's no their problem.

Seriously NASA until you actually find signs of life just stop talking about it. I know you have to keep looking like you're on the verge of something so the general public doesn't cotton to the fantastic waste of money that you are. But other wise just stop talking. It's like your agency has been channelling Peter Molyneux.
 

Vicarious Reality

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"Chief NASA scientists believe "

Stopped reading

What is far more interesting is juice

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jupiter_Icy_Moon_Explorer
 

Elfgore

Your friendly local nihilist
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... How do you know this? You can't know this, you can't even really guess it. I believe alien life exists... do I know when we'll find it, hell, if we'll every find it? Hell no! No one can guess that. This just screams "we mentioned aliens, so give us money!"
 

Adam Jensen_v1legacy

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Sep 8, 2011
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Jesus Christ, think before you post something as news. This isn't news. It's an empty statement. Most long-term predictions are. They're so common in the information age you should have learned how to recognize them by now. If they find alien life in the next 10-20 years then they can brag about how right they were. And if not, it's not like anyone will fuckin' remember what some scientists said 20 years ago.
 

JonB

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Adam Jensen said:
Jesus Christ, think before you post something as news. This isn't news. It's an empty statement. Most long-term predictions are. They're so common in the information age you should have learned how to recognize them by now. If they find alien life in the next 10-20 years then they can brag about how right they were. And if not, it's not like anyone will fuckin' remember what some scientists said 20 years ago.
This is news because the person making the empty, long-term prediction is important enough to know better.
 

medv4380

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Feb 26, 2010
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Finding Microbes of life outside the the earth is a magnitude harder than finding intelligent life. For intelligent life we don't have to leave the earth. We just have to verifiably detect their noise. For us to detect non-intelligent life in the next 10 to 20 years we only have a few candidates. Anyone who believes this nonsense believes that Mars, Titan, or some other solar system body that we've already been to probably has life, or unquestionably evidence it had life at one point in time. Beyond that we have to actually leave our solar system, and get to another. That's not happening in 10 to 20 years. That's not happening in the next century baring the development of FTL, or Extra Dimensional Travel. Which any timeline for the discovery of such things is pure science fiction.
 

IamLEAM1983

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Lightknight said:
If it's just life in general then I'd expect it within just a few years since that opens things up to even just bacteria.

Sentient life though? That's what I think really matters to us. Non-sentient life might as well be just another strange species we found in the rain forest.
I'd be open to us finding nothing except alien bacteria for a while. Baby steps, y'know?

As far as sentience goes, isn't that a subjective concept? If we find a group of beings that are actually sapient but that don't fit our observable criteria for it, we're liable to miss 'em entirely.
 

SmugFrog

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Adam Jensen said:
Jesus Christ, think before you post something as news. This isn't news.
I know you didn't ask for this Adam, but it's exciting to hear someone from a large organization (and not a tin-foil hat one) claiming such a thing. To hear this and to force our governments to understand that we may one day have to deal with intelligent life and for the sake of the world, to get our crap together.

If only we spent as much money on space exploration and the improvement of humanity as we do trying to blow each other up.
 

FPLOON

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If it's anything like what was going on before the events of Titan A.E., maybe we could later team up to take on a super-sentient alien race because even aliens agree with us on the "not negotiating with [alien] terrorist" mindset...

Other than that, I hope the process goes off swimmingly in the end...
 

Scrythe

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Jun 23, 2009
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Imagine a scenario where we find a planet full of primordial ooze; a planet on the verge of exploding with life. We could send stuff out there to observe the evolutionary process from the earliest stages.

And while we silently observe, they slowly (as in billions of years) reach the stages where we're currently at now. Sentient lifeforms wonder to themselves if there is intelligent life in the galaxy, not knowing that an ancient species has already inhabited large swatches of it.

And that ancient civilization is us.
 

Basement Cat

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Jul 26, 2012
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I find this interesting because I'm curious if they find microbial life elsewhere in our solar system whether it's DNA (if it runs on DNA) has the same right handed chirality that all DNA possessing organisms on Earth have.

I'm writing a Sci-Fi novel right now and that question is one of the questions because...reasons. <_<
 

NickBrahz

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Ok so im a little confused, they say water is more common then they think so then there is more places for them to look, but at the same time they are saying its gonna be faster for them to find it because they have to look at more places?
So how does having to look at more places = faster find that one special place that has a trace of life?
 

Denamic

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NickBrahz said:
Ok so im a little confused, they say water is more common then they think so then there is more places for them to look, but at the same time they are saying its gonna be faster for them to find it because they have to look at more places?
So how does having to look at more places = faster find that one special place that has a trace of life?
First off, it's more common than they thought, not more common than they think. And with more water around, it's more likely they'll find life in it. Like you have a higher chance to win the lottery if you have a thousand tickets than if you only have one.
 

ghalleon0915

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As others have touched upon, it would be more interesting if we ever did find evidence of sentient life (even if they were extinct). I wonder how people would react to that, especially if they were far more advanced than us. Someone had speculated that perhaps we may find life on the cusp of evolving, and we could "watch" them as they progress through the years. What if we were them instead, and they are watching us as we evolve?

I think Futurama had an episode similar to that, except the people were actually transplanted aliens. Kind of like a cosmic Survivor Island.

It'll be interesting if we do find an organism that is not carbon-based, and has a different set of dna than us. We'd have to re-classify a few things, but that's what they do when new discoveries are made anyway. Hopefully they do find something before I die, but considering how huge the universe is....it would almost have to be a random occurrence. Well, one can hope.
 

Chester Rabbit

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That would be nice. Let's try and treat it better than we have in any piece of science fiction though eh humanity.