According to a British scientist, mankind could come across alien life in the next 10 to 20 years.
David Clements, a scientist at London’s Imperial College argues that ongoing observations of our solar system, coupled with new technological advancements are making the discovery of alien life a much simpler process, and realistic possibility in the very near future.
Clements new study has been accepted for publication in the Journal of the British Interplanetary Society. In it, the research observes the Ferm Paradox and why mankind has not heard from alien life, despite the incredible size of the universe.
In the study, already published in the preprint server arXiv, Clement attempts to answer the question and in order to do so, he looks at the history of life on Earth, and conditions that are necessary for life (as we know it) to come into existence, and the presence of potentially habitable planets (Mars) and moons (Europa, Enceladus) in the solar system.
“Until recently, detecting signs of life elsewhere has been so technically challenging as to seem almost impossible. However, new observational insights and other developments mean that signs of life elsewhere might realistically be uncovered in the next decade or two,” Clement writes in the study.
The study argues that life on Earth came into existence relatively quickly (in cosmic scales) after our planet finished forming some 4.5 billion years ago.
During that time, Earth was an extremely hostile place, where the surface of the planet was largely molten.
But the more we study our planet, the more surprising discoveries we made.
Scientists have found that life can exist in the most inhospitable places we could imagine–like hydrothermal vents located at the bottom of Earth’s oceans, and in subterranean lakes, located several kilometers beneath the thick layers of ice in Antarctica.
Clement concludes that all we need for life (as we know it) to exist in the presence of water and some sort of energy.
Curiously, in our solar system, there are a number of celestial objects that meet those requirements.
“We are left with the rather chilling prospect that the galaxy may be filled with life, but that any intelligence within it is locked away beneath impenetrable ice barriers, unable to communicate with, or even comprehend the existence of, the universe outside,” he wrote.
“Intelligent sub-ice life would certainly be very different, but I’ve seen no evidence that it would be impossible. Indeed the capabilities of octopuses… are quite surprising. Technology in a water environment, if developed, could be quite different from what we’re familiar with,” Clement told Newsweek.