“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,” NASA chief scientist, Ellen Stofan, told the public during an event in the US at the NASA headquarters in Washington, DC earlier this week. “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.”
The hour-long event, which you can watch in the video here, had five of the space agency’s top scientists running through their latest big discoveries, most of which featured the presence of water – liquid, icy, underground, or ancient – on cosmic bodies like Mars, Europa, and Enceladus. Each time we discover evidence of water on a planet or a planet’s moon, we’re one step closer to finding signs of life, and the frequency at which we’re now finding water all over the Solar System is what’s giving these scientists such confidence.
“It’s definitely not an if, it’s a when,” said Jeffery Newmark, NASA’s interim director of heliophysics. Edited from NASA’s chief scientist predicts we’ll find signs of alien life by 2025