NASA Thinks We Are Close to Discovering Alien Microbes
Posted on April 9, 2015
NASA thinks we are not far away from discovering alien life in the form of microorganisms on a nearby moon or dwarf planet. NASA chief scientist Ellen Stofan said at the Water in the Universe panel that she thinks we will have strong indications of life beyond Earth by 2025 and definitive evidence of life beyond Earth by 2035 to 2045.Stofan said, "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." She also said, "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 statement about life comes as NASA continues to find the possibility of water on more and more moons and dwarf planets. Some of the moons that show evidence of water include Ceres, Europa, Ganymede, Callisto, Enceladus, Titan, Mimas, Triton and possibly even Pluto. NASA has provided handy infographic of these ocean worlds here. Among the most recent water discoveries include a possible subterranean ocean on Jupiter's moon Ganymede and signs of hydrothermal activity on Saturn's moon Enceladus.
Stofan's statement suggests NASA scientists are very confident life can form outside Earth in locations where conditions are favorable and similar to those found on Earth. One of these ocean worlds may ultimately provide the evidence right in our solar system. Stofan noted in the discussion that we are talking about microbes and not "little green men" in this situation.
Space.com notes that NASA is planning a mission to Europa, which is strongly suspected of having a salty subsurface ocean. It could be this mission where the discovery of alien microbes is made. Here is the video of NASA's Water in the Universe panel: