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The search for extra-terrestrial life has been ongoing for decades and, aside from a few false alarms, it has gone on without very much success.
However, according to Chris Impey, the deputy head of the astronomy department at the University of Arizona, this might not be the case for very much longer. Impey has stated that he believes that the search for extraterrestrial life is likely to yield fruit in the course of the next decade.
Impey was clear that the life he believes will be discovered in the course of the next ten to fifteen years is far more likely to be microbial life than intelligent life as it is fairly probable that microbial life exists within this solar system. He said that he believes that the best shot of human beings discovering extra-terrestrial life probably lies with the icy moon of Europa which orbits the planet Jupiter.
The astronomer said that he had also not ruled out the possibility that there was still life on the planet Mars. However, he said that it would be very difficult to access any life forms on the Red Planet as, if they exist, they are probably located deep beneath the surface of the planet. He said that it was far more likely that the slated Mars missions would bring back proof that life once existed on the surface of Mars as opposed to living organisms that still inhabit the planet.
According to Impey, the search extra-terrestrial life could make great strides in the coming years because of extraordinary developments in technology. For instance, the James Web Space Telescope will be utilized to search for biomarkers such as oxygen and methane in the atmosphere which could indicate an Earth-like planet. “This biomarker experiment. Could find evidence of microbial life indirectly, “Impey said.
Even if scientists are not able to uncover extraterrestrial life in the next decade, Impey is convinced that the search will go on until it is successful. “The first SETI experiment was in 1959, so obviously it has been going on for over half a century without any success. The people who do it don’t seem put off by failure, “he said.