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We'll Discover Alien Life In Just 20-30 Years Says NASA Chief Expert

08/04/2015 15:11 BST | Updated 08/04/2015 15:59 BST

The human race is just 20 to 30 years away from finding evidence of alien life says NASA's chief scientist Ellen Stofan.

Speaking at a press conference on how NASA is progressing in its search for life on other planets, Stofan revealed a level of optimistic confidence that hasn't yet been seen in the field.

"We know where to look. We know how to look, in most cases we have the technology, and we're on a path to implementing it. And so I think we're definitely on the road."

Stofan isn't alone, NASA's own Science Mission Directorate John Grunsfeld is equally as confident that we'll answer the ultimate question sooner rather than later.

ocean worlds

"I think we're one generation away in our solar system, whether it's on an icy moon or on Mars, and one generation [away] on a planet around a nearby star,"

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Recent discoveries of large bodies of water throughout the galaxy have raised hopes that the building blocks for life are far more common than first thought.

From the Curiosity rover discovering evidence that Mars once had water, to Kepler's discovery that Saturn's Moon Enceladus could be hiding huge oceans of mineral-rich water.