Over a quarter century, astronomers will have already studied enough solar systems to have chances to detect electromagnetic signals produced by extraterrestrials, says a well-known specialist in the field.
Seth Shostak from the SETI Institute (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence), who study the universe looking for evidence of extraterrestrial life, stipulates that in 2040 we will be in possession of sufficient data about distant planets to be able to discover the existence of life in these celestial bodies.
This bold prediction was made public during the symposium NIAC 2014(NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts), recently held at Stanford University, USA.
Shostak’s optimism is based, partially, on the observations made by NASA’s Kepler telescope, which showed that the Milky Way is full of world able to hold life as we know it.
By the specialist statements, one star out of five has at least one planet where life could possibly exist, a “fantastic high” percentage, he says. “That means that in our galaxy there are, at least, tens of billions of Earth-like worlds capable to sustain life”.
Shostak and his colleagues believe that some of these worlds could hold intelligent life, beings who have reached sufficient technological development to emit electromagnetic signals in cosmos.
Therefore, one of the research methods used by SETI is placing huge radio antennas and tracking signals captured by them, hoping to identify among them signals produced by civilizations from other planets.
Shostak sees this “hunting aliens” like a race with three routes: the search for advanced extraterrestrial civilizations, research on celestial bodies in our solar system (like Mars and Jupiter Moon Europa) in search of simple organisms and search sign of microbial activity on close exoplanets using “future” instruments, such as NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, worth 8.8 billion USD, which will be released in 2018.
Shostak declared, in NIAC, all these approaches have equally opportunities: any of them could success in the next two decades, leading to the discovery of life on other planets.