"I think we're going to have strong indications of life beyond Earth within a decade," Ellen Stofan said

By Alex Heigl
Updated April 08, 2015 12:40 PM
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Credit: Jay Westcott/NASA

Admitting to a belief in aliens has long carried stigmas of varying severity, but the Mulders of the world may have the last laugh, according to new revelations from NASA.

“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 said Tuesday in a live webcast.

“We know where to look. We know how to look,” Stofan added. “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.”

NASA intends to launch the next Mars rover in 2020 and hopes to have astronauts on the red planet in the 2030s. The scientists are also planning a mission to Europa, one of Jupiter’s moons, that could launch by 2022.

For deeper space exploration, NASA has the $8.8 billion James Webb Space Telescope, launching in 2018. The device will examine the atmospheres of nearby alien planets, looking for gases that may have been produced by living beings.

Let’s just hope this goes better than Independence Day.

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