Thursday, June 18, 2015

Aliens Know Where to Find Us, Says NASA Official

John Grunsfeld, associate administrator for the science mission directorate, NASA, speaks at the Humans to Mars Summit on Tuesday, May 5, 2015 at George Washington University in Washington, DC. Credit: NASA/Aubrey Gemignani

If intelligent life forms exist beyond Earth, they likely know we're here, a NASA official said Tuesday at the Astrobiology Science Conference 2015 in Chicago. "We put atmospheric signatures that guarantee someone with a large telescope 20 light years away could detect us," said John Grunsfeld, associate administrator for NASA's Science Mission Directorate. "If there is life out there, intelligent life, they’ll know we’re here."

Grunsfeld, a former astronaut, pointed to changes that life on Earth has created in the environment as one of the telltale signs intelligent life could spot Earthlings from afar.

"'Are we alone?' is the biggest driving question," Grunsfeld said.

NASA's chief scientist Ellen Stofan said in April that she believes the first indications of alien life could come by 2025 -- with more concrete evidence of extraterrestrial life coming in 20 to 30 years.

While Stofan predicts mankind is likely not alone in the universe, she said at a panel discussion about water in the universe she expects alien life won't be "little green men."

"We are talking about little microbes," she said.

The Astrobiology Science Conference convenes scientists from all over the world who work in the interdisciplinary field of astrobiology — the study of the origin, evolution, distribution, and future of life in the universe — to report on research findings and plan future endeavors.


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