Humans will have a close encounter with aliens within the “next handful of years”, according to NASA’s former chief scientist.
Jim Green is certain life exists beyond Earth and says humans are on the brink of a “really astounding discovery”.
Jim, who spent 40 years at the US space agency and has an asteroid named after him, told BBC’s HARDtalk he expects alien life to be discovered within his lifetime.
“We are making enormous progress,’’ he said. "Now we know there are more planets in our galaxy than there are stars.
“And many of them are in places much like the Earth where we can receive the light from the Sun and we can have water.
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“And not only in liquid form – frozen form and vapour form. These are important conditions we believe for life.
“We are finding planets that have conditions where life may arise.”
NASA’s new James Webb Space Telescope will provide never-before-seen images of remote planets which will help boffins analyse their atmospheres.
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“With our next big telescope we are going to start teasing out what some of these planets look like from their atmospheres.
“We are going to be comparing these atmospheres to the ones we know. Are they more Venus-like, are they more Mars-like, are they more Earth-like?
“This is a huge step forward.
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“I think we are going to see some really astounding discoveries in the next handful of years.’’
He predicted NASA was on its way to answering its two mission objectives: “Are we alone and how did we get here?’’
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