TECH

Astronaut Chris Hadfield Says We're 'On The Cusp' Of Discovering Alien Life

30/11/2015 15:01 GMT | Updated 22/01/2016 08:59 GMT

Astronaut Chris Hadfield has said that humankind is 'on the cusp' of discovering alien life following the recent revelations made on Mars, Europa, Enceladus and even Pluto.

kepler 452b

The discovery of Kepler 452b was signalled as the arrival of Earth 2.0

The former astronaut, ISS veteran and orbit-bound singer met up with former physicist Randall Munroe and together they decided to hammer out the big issues surrounding life, the universe and everything.

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Chatting to each other for the Guardian, the two experts agreed that the last 10 years have seen some astonishing progress in the realms of searching for extraterrestrial life.

Munroe in particular pointed out the astonishing pace at which the Kepler program is discovering new planets.

chris hadfield

"The explosion in [the discovery of] exoplanets has just thrilled me. Even if we’re a little way away from some of the really good answers, it’s like, no matter what we do, we’re going to be making cool discoveries with it."

It's not just aliens that are exciting the two experts though, as Hadfield points out, the internet and the 'Internet of Things' has brought us something far more powerful than the odd cat video.

"Our ability to communicate thought – the democratisation of thought. The printing press sort of started it. The telephone took it to the next level. But the internet? Social media? It expands it to a level that’s unprecedented.

...we’re at the point now where we are not wasting very much human potential."

earth

The cartoonist and astronaut also agree one key point though which is that the solutions are always out there, it's just convincing the world that we can actually do them in the first place.

Hadfield says: "I think part of what motivates me and, I think, you, is that if you want to have an effective discussion of technical issues they have to be fact-based."

And how do you get voters and politicians to make the issues fact-based? If the only way that you present [arguments] is to other nerd royalty, then you’re not going to make a convincing case."

You can read the full (and deeply fascinating) discussion here.