If the claims of a top UK astronomer are to be believed, alien life beyond our solar system may be found within the next 40 years. The claim is reported in the Daily Mail quoting Lord Martin Rees, President of the Royal Society of London.
Developments in astronomy, according to the claim, could possibly enable astrophysicists to view images of distant planets outside of our solar system as early as 2025. Whether or not there is some form of life would be potentially discoverable on the basis of images.
Scientists and philosophers over centuries have puzzled over the question of existence of an alien life form. According to Rees, “Within 10 or 20 years we will be able to image other planets like the earth, orbiting other stars. That will be a really exciting subject to see if there is evidence for [extra-terrestrial] life or not.”
Professor Rees was speaking on the occasion of the launch of Professor Stephen Hawking’s new show Grand Design. During the course of his speech, Professor Rees stated: “origin of life, the place where it exists, and whether aliens exist, is going to be crucial over the next four decades.”
However, this is one field of study where limitations of our capacity to understand is evident, as Professor Rees went on to add, “There may be some questions that our brains will never understand, in the same way that chimpanzees couldn’t understand quantum theory, that are just beyond human brains”.
Lord Rees had said last year that quite possibly even now, aliens are “staring us in the face” which humans cannot recognize. He suspects there could be life and intelligence out there in forms beyond human comprehension.
While admitting the human challenges in context of comprehensibility of alien life forms, Professor Rees is hopeful that alien interaction will enable us to learn more: “Or we will have to wait till we can learn from some aliens who may be some way ahead of us”.
Although there are many theories on extraterrestrial life forms, they are still in the realm of pseudo science. However, Dr. Richard B. Hoover, an astrobiologist with NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center has extensively studied meteorites in remote areas including Antarctica and Alaska. Hoover is convinced that his “findings reveal fossil evidence of bacterial life within such meteorites, the remains of living organisms from their parent bodies -- comets, moons and other astral bodies. By extension, the findings suggest we are not alone in the universe.”