“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 during a panel event on water in the universe.
“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.”
Others at the panel agreed.
“It’s definitely not an if, it’s a when,” said Jeffery Newmark, NASA’s interim director of heliophysics.
When we do find evidence of life, however, it’s likely it won’t be signs of alien civilization but rather something much, much smaller.
“We are not talking about little green men,” Stofan said. “We are talking about little microbes.”
“I think in the next 20 years we will find out we are not alone in the universe,” he said.
The full discussion is available in the video below.