Are we alone in the universe? This is a question that leaves us spellbound every time we face it. Very often we come across rumors and even claims of seeing outer space objects, but we've not yet confirmed on their existence. If the claims of a top Russian astronomer are to be believed, we will encounter alien civilizations over the next 20 years.

Andrei Finkelstein, director of the Russian Academy of Sciences' Applied Astronomy Institute, said on Monday that the genesis of life is as inevitable as the formation of atoms, according to the Interfax news agency. Life exists on other planets and we will find it within 20 years, Finkelstein said.

While speaking at an international forum on extraterrestrial life, the Russian astronomer claimed that almost 10 percent of the known planets circling suns in the galaxy bear a resemblance to Earth, and if water can be found there, then possibility of life can't be denied.

Finkelstein said that there won't be much difference between aliens and humans. They would most likely be having two arms, two legs and a head. They may have different colour skin, but even we have that, he said.

The recent claim by a NASA scientist

In March this year, Richard Hoover, an astrobiologist at the US space agency's Marshall space flight centre in Alabama claimed to have found small fossils of alien bugs inside meteorites that are possibly the remains of extraterrestrial bacteria landed on Earth.

He wrote in the Journal of Cosmology claiming that they are the remains of extraterrestrial life forms that grew on the parent bodies of the meteorites when liquid water was present, long before the meteorites entered the Earth's atmosphere.

In August last year, Seth Shostak, a senior astronomer at the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence Institute in Mountain View, California, also told about the possibility of alien encounter in near future.

I actually think the chances that we'll find ET are pretty good, said Shostak, at the SETIcon convention.

The base of Shostak's estimation was Dark Equation, a formula conceived by SETI pioneer Frank Drake to calculate the number of alien civilizations with whom we might be able to communicate, according to

Check out the picture of possible fossil alien bacteria (left) found by Richard Hoover, compared to terrestrial bacteria (right):

Here is a controversial video, claimed to be a footage from NASA's archives. The video contains interviews with Edgar Mitchell, Lunar Module pilot for the Apollo 14 mission to Fra Mauro, discussing the UFO-ET cover-up and Storey Musgrave, NASA astronaut and veteran of six shuttle missions: