During a panel discussion at NASA’s headquarters in Washington, D.C., on Monday, several of the space agency’s experts said based on advances in space telescope technology, finding alien life may become a reality.
“Many scientists believe we are not alone in the universe,” NASA says on its website.“It's probable, they say, that life could have arisen on at least some of the billions of planets thought to exist in our galaxy alone — just as it did here on planet Earth. This basic question about our place in the Universe is one that may be answered by scientific investigations.”
Here's what a few experts had to say about the topic during the discussion and on NASA's website:
"I think in the next 20 years we will find out we are not alone in the universe." – NASA astronomer Kevin Hand
"It's highly improbable in the limitless vastness of the universe that we humans stand alone." – NASA Administrator Charles Bolden
"Sometime in the near future, people will be able to point to a star and say, 'that star has a planet like Earth.' Astronomers think it is very likely that every single star in our Milky Way galaxy has at least one planet." Sara Seager, professor of planetary science and physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
"What we didn't know five years ago is that perhaps 10 to 20 percent of stars around us have Earth-size planets in the habitable zone. It's within our grasp to pull off a discovery that will change the world forever. Just imagine the moment when we find potential signatures of life. Imagine the moment when the world wakes up and the human race realizes that its long loneliness in time and space may be over — the possibility we're no longer alone in the universe." – Matt Mountain, director and Webb telescope scientist at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore
Mountain said a “continuing partnership” among NASA, science, technology, the United States and the cooperation to use the James Webb Space Telescope is needed “to build the next bridge to humanity's future."