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CNN)—They may not be "Star Trek"-type extraterrestrials, but we may be close to finding evidence of alien life, a NASA scientist says.

"I think we're going to have strong indications of life beyond Earth within a decade, and I think we're going to have definitive evidence within 20 to 30 years," NASA chief scientist Ellen Stofan said Tuesday during a panel discussion on water in the universe.

"We know where to look. We know how to look," she said. "In most cases, we have the technology, and we're on a path to implementing it. And so I think we're definitely on the road."

NASA released a graphic noting that scientists have found evidence or indications of water on a number of celestial bodies, including the dwarf planet Ceres and Jupiter's moon Europa.

The Hubble Space Telescope has been key to the discoveries, NASA said in a news release.

"Scientists using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope recently provided powerful evidence that (Jupiter's moon) Ganymede has a saltwater, sub-surface ocean, likely sandwiched between two layers of ice," the agency noted.

There are some caveats involved, of course. NASA isn't talking about intelligent alien civilizations from the Alpha Quadrant; it's referring to microorganisms.

"We are not talking about little green men," Stofan said at the panel. "We are talking about little microbes."

Still, former astronaut John Grunsfeld said it's an exciting time -- and he thinks it's just a matter of time before we find life outside our solar system as well.

"I think we're one generation away in our solar system, whether it's on an icy moon or on Mars, and one generation on a planet around a nearby star," he said.

And, he added, who knows what that life will look like?

"Once we get out beyond Mars, the likelihood that it's similar to Earth because we share that material gets very, very low," he said. "And I think that's where it starts getting exceptionally exciting."

http://www.cnn.com/2015/04/08/us/feat-na...lien-life/

Some_Bloke

The question on my mind is if the aliens want to be found and whether or not they are friendly.

On that note:

[Image: Funniest_Memes_i-m-pretty-sure-that-our-..._7107.jpeg]
I would be surprised if there weren't life out there on some other planet. There are so many stars out there that it seems unlikely that none of them would have any planets capable of sustaining life. If you have a star about the size of our sun, a planet about the size of Earth, approximately the same distance between the two, and liquid water, I think everything else would likely take care of itself to cause life.
Considering that we don't actually know what caused life on Earth, beyond a few hypotheses (no solid theories), then it seems to me like we are getting ahead of ourselves in predicting life on other worlds. You can't do statistics on a sample of one.
(04-09-2015 10:39 PM)142857 Wrote: [ -> ]Considering that we don't actually know what caused life on Earth, beyond a few hypotheses (no solid theories), then it seems to me like we are getting ahead of ourselves in predicting life on other worlds. You can't do statistics on a sample of one.

There's a certain amount of truth to that. Life could exist in other forms that we haven't considered. I still find it unlikely that we're all there is.
(04-09-2015 10:45 PM)d_olson27 Wrote: [ -> ]
(04-09-2015 10:39 PM)142857 Wrote: [ -> ]Considering that we don't actually know what caused life on Earth, beyond a few hypotheses (no solid theories), then it seems to me like we are getting ahead of ourselves in predicting life on other worlds. You can't do statistics on a sample of one.

There's a certain amount of truth to that. Life could exist in other forms that we haven't considered. I still find it unlikely that we're all there is.

It seems more likely that there is other life out there than that life on Earth, in all its diversity, is a complete one-off.

I just don't think you can put a number on it.
I remember once reading that they looked for signs of water on Mars, to deduce as to whether or not life could have been there. I always wanted to know, why water?

I know that everything on earth needs water but who's to say that the rules of biology on Mars are the same as that of the earth?
The rules of chemistry are not different. Water is a fantastic solvent, probably the best. To get life, you need something at least as good as water at dissolving things. And you still need to have things that are insoluble in it to act as barriers for homeostasis. There aren't many compounds that come close.

Some_Bloke

(04-10-2015 12:32 AM)Walker! Wrote: [ -> ]I remember once reading that they looked for signs of water on Mars, to deduce as to whether or not life could have been there. I always wanted to know, why water?

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Luke Mauser

(04-10-2015 12:41 AM)LanguageWolf Wrote: [ -> ]The rules of chemistry are not different. Water is a fantastic solvent, probably the best. To get life, you need something at least as good as water at dissolving things. And you still need to have things that are insoluble in it to act as barriers for homeostasis. There aren't many compounds that come close.

It's discrimination to have barriers against homeostasis. Unless you live in Indiana.
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