Alien Life Could be Discovered Within 20 Years: Says SETI Researchers
Alien life forms could be discovered if scientists track atmospheric pollution. [Representational Picture]NASA

People have always been fascinated with and wondered about the existence of life beyond Earth. A team of astronomers believe that there is an alien life in the universe and with proper funding, it is possible to find it within a period of 20 years.

This possibility rose after astronomers, with California-based Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) Institute, told Congressional science committee members about the finding, during a hearing of the U.S. House of Representatives' Committee on Science, Space, and Technology on Wednesday 21 May 2014.

Over the past many decades, multiple attempts have been made in search for alien life and astronomers have even been successful in uncovering many exoplanets in the Milky Way galaxy with the help of data provided from NASA's Kepler Space Telescope. Two researchers from Seti have provided evidence that Earth is not the sole planet where there is life.

The astronomers refer that close to two thousand planets are identified by NASA's Kepler telescope and have estimated that 70 percent of all stars are accompanied by planets, which means that there are about one trillion in the Milky Way alone.

"At least a half-dozen other worlds (besides Earth) that might have life are in our solar system. The chances of finding it, I think, are good, and if that happens, it'll happen in the next 20 years, depending on the financing." Seth Shostak, a senior astronomer at SETI Institute, was quoted by Discovery News

"It bears mentioning that the Milky Way is only one of 150 billion galaxies visible to our telescopes - and each of these will have its own complement of planets," he added.

Searching for extraterrestrial life in or outside the solar system can be done in three ways as explained by Shostak. First, most of efforts have been made in searching for aliens on Mars and moons present in the solar system and secondly approach searches for clues of methane or oxygen. The third way is to hunt for technically advanced aliens who may send some kind of radio or such signals into the outer space.

SETI, according to the institute, employs world's largest optical and radio telescopes in order to search for clues regarding distant planets' technology and their civilizations.

"It would be bizarre if we are alone. It would be a cramped mind that didn't wonder what other life is out there. They also both agreed that Earth has never been visited by aliens. I don't think that that would be something all the governments would have managed to keep a secret." Daily Mail quoted Dan Wethimer, Directory of SETI Research at the University of California Berkeley.

The hearing was made after a new NASA book was published that suggested Earth could have been visited by extraterrestrial life before.