Scientists: First Detection of Alien Life May Occur Within 20 Years

Monday, 26 May 2014 01:16 PM

By Melanie Batley

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Scientists have told Congress they are convinced humans will be able to detect alien life within 20 years, as long as funding continues to support the telescopes.

Experts from the SETI Research Center, one of the leading research centers in the world in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence, operated by the University of California, Berkeley, addressed Congress on May 21 and explained how the Allan Telescope Array on northern California would search for intelligent life in space, the Tech Times reported.

"SETI experiments are trying to determine whether other intelligent, technologically capable life exists in the universe, to answer the question 'Are we alone?' or 'Is anybody out there?'" Dan Werthimer, director of the facility, told lawmakers.

The scientists said they are continuing to develop a network of radio telescopes that would connect 350 antennas together. The array went live in October 2007, operated until it ran out of funds in April 2011, and was then restored in December 2011.

"Billions of these planets are Earth-size and in the 'habitable' or so-called 'Goldilocks' zone — not too distant from their host star [too cold], and not too close to their star [too hot]. And there are billions of other galaxies outside our Milky Way galaxy — plenty of places where life could emerge and evolve," he said.

Earlier this month, NASA announced it would be extending the mission of the Kepler Space Telescope. It was launched in March 2007, and for six years searched distant stars looking for signs of distant worlds.

Before the reaction wheels failed in Kepler in 2013, the craft found thousands of possible alien planets, and hundreds of these have been confirmed by astronomers, Tech Times reports.

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