Ellen Stofan, a chief scientist at NASA, thinks we’ll discover forms of alien life within the next 30 years, with our growing knowledge of water in our solar system fuelling this belief.
The US space agency claims the discovery of water on the likes of Jupiter’s moons Ganymede, Europa and Callisto, as well as Enceladus and Titan, circling Saturn, hints at a direct link between our world and those around us.
Ganyemede is thought to have an actual body of salt water, discovered thanks to the incredible work of the Hubble telescope.
"NASA science activities have provided a wave of amazing findings related to water in recent years that inspire us to continue investigating our origins and the fascinating possibilities of other worlds, and life, in the universe," said Stofan.
"In our lifetime, we may very well finally answer whether we are alone in the solar system and beyond."
The ingredients of what we call water – hydrogen and oxygen – are fairly common throughout our universe, with astronomers seeing the “signature of water” in clouds, disks and rival atmospheres to ours.
Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune are believed to house massive bodies of water, making them prime candidates for supporting life beyond our shores.
NASA’s planned trip to Europa, where it will send a robot to do some digging, will be a key eye-opener, with it billed to be the most likely to house some form of life.
Fortunately, it’s not fully-functioning evil aliens, hell-bent on the destruction of humanity, that NASA expects to find, rather organisms that have the potential to sprout further life.
“NASA's Cassini mission has revealed Enceladus as an active world of icy geysers. Recent research suggests it may have hydrothermal activity on its ocean floor, an environment potentially suitable for living organisms,” says the agency.
Alien plant life image, via Shutterstock