Space exploration and an expansion of mankind’s influence into the stars is an extraordinarily prevalent idea in our modern society. Movies, TV shows, video games, indeed all forms of media are saturated with the idea of life beyond earth – and now NASA’s chief scientist has said that he is confident that we’ll be making some kind of biological encounter within the next couple of decades.
Whilst it doesn’t mean we’ll necessarily be getting first contact with some kind of advanced alien species, it could very well be the case that sensing technology or other long range scanning devices pick up some kind of evidence of life forms, such as plant life or bacterial organisms, incredibly soon.
SEE ALSO: The Full Star Wars Saga Debuts in Digital this Week
NASA held a public panel in Washington DC earlier in the week, and it was there that Ellen Stofan, NASA’s chief scientist, revealed her prediction that “I believe we are going to have strong indications of life beyond Earth in the next decade and definitive evidence in the next 10 to 20 years,” to the general public.
To be frank, the sheer amount of planets detected beyond our solar system which contain oceans are so numerous that it’s already a given. Water can support life as we know it – bacterial organisms and simple plants are absolutely possible.
Even our own solar system has the potential to host cute little extra terrestrial organisms – Jupiter’s moon Europa has always been a safe bet for some scientists, and recently studies proposed the existence of hot springs on Saturn’s moon Enceladus and discovered a saltwater ocean on Jupiter’s largest moon Ganymede.
SEE ALSO: Asec AS2300 code lock. Fitting tip.
Certainly if there is a plan to discover some life or make these journeys to distant moons, propulsion technology such as the recently tested ion propulsion systems (which are currently amassing massive funding) will be absolutely necessary. They’re nowhere near as fast as sci-fi’s ever-popular ‘warp speed’, but eventually these futuristic devices might carry survey equipment to explore just whether our solar system’s moons can support life.
At the moment the possibility of colony experiments and extra terrestrial habitation for humans is somewhat out of the question – we’ve barely been able to start planning a trip to mars, and the technology, funding and interest in such exploration of these moons is just not ready yet.
Via: Popular Science