NASA estimates that 100 million worlds in our Milky Way galaxy are home to alien life, and they have a plan to find our otherworldly neighbors.
At a panel discussion on Monday, the U.S. space agency said it would use current telescope technology to search for alien life. In addition, the agency announced the 2017 launch date for the Transiting Exoplanet Surveying System, a space telescope designed to find more extrasolar planets.
“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,” said Matt Mountain, director and Webb telescope scientist at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore.
However, Mountain added that in order to actually find life on other planets, humans are going to need another generation of telescopes. “To do that we're going to need new rockets, new approaches to getting into space, new approaches to large telescopes -- highly advanced optical systems."
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Nonetheless, the claim that life does exist on other, unknown planets, went virtually undisputed. NASA astronomer Kevin Hand said, “I think in the next 20 years we will find out we are not alone in the universe.”
Watch the whole panel discussion below.