Alien life could be residing in our own solar system without us even knowing about it
The hunt for extraterrestrial life could soon yield results, with one astronomer predicting humans will discover aliens within the next two decades.
In an interview with Futurism , astronomy researcher Chris Impey said he would “put money” on scientists detecting alien life in the next 10 to 15 years.
However, it may not be the little green men most of us are hoping for. According to Impey, it is most likely to be microbial life rather than intelligent life.
As for the question of where this alien life might be lurking, Impey told Futurism we should focus the search on our own solar system.
There is still a good chance that life exists – or at least used to exist – on Mars, he said.
“If we actually get Mars rocks back here to Earth from a place that we think could have been habitable in the past, then we might find evidence of prior life,” said Impey.
Any current lifeforms on Mars are likely to be residing below the surface, making them difficult to detect.
However, Mars is not the only place in our Solar System where life could exist. It is thought that Jupiter’s moon Europa could harbour life in one of its many oceans.
Outside of our solar system, several Earth-like planets have been found orbiting in the habitable zones around nearby stars.
By studying the atmospheres of these planets for biomarkers such as oxygen and methane, scientists may be able to find evidence of microbial life indirectly.
While the prospect of discovering alien microbes may not sound all that exciting, it would prove that Earth is not the only planet capable of supporting life.
The knowledge gleaned from studying this microbial life could help to narrow down the search for other, more complex organisms, according to Impey.
It could also provide insights into how living beings survive on worlds far different from our own, which could help in our quest to become a multi-planetary species.