Humanity is just 10-15 years away from finally being able to answer the ultimate question: Whether or not we are alone in the universe.
In a fascinating interview with Futurism, professor and deputy head of the department of astronomy at the University of Arizona Chris Impey said that he believes we will have finally discovered proof of alien life.
Impey does have a caveat to his prediction however: It won’t be intelligent life.
It also won’t be from another solar system, instead it will be from one of the objects already within our own solar system.
“I put my money on detecting microbial life in 10 to 15 years, but not at all detecting intelligent life.” said Impey.
In the interview the academic confirmed that our current efforts to explore the moon Europa could help push us in the right direction for at the very least finding microbial life.
Much like the hydrothermal vents on Earth that support their own extraordinary ecosystem, Enceladus it seems is also sending huge hot plumes of hydrogen through its subsurface ocean and out into space.
While this is certainly promising news NASA hasn’t given up on Europa, in fact in February the space agency confirmed that it would be sending a probe to the moon specifically with the objective of finding at the very least evidence that alien life existed.
Europa poses a very particular challenge for NASA. With a vast icy crust covering the entire moon it contains oceans 100km deep.
There are plans to explore the moon in the early 2030s.