- This is according to Seth Shostak, a senior astronomer at Seti Institute
- Data suggests our galaxy has 40 billion planets with potential for life
- But finding these depends on sophisticated and expensive experiments
- ‘Sadly much of this reconnaissance hardware is still on the drawing boards, not in space,’ said Dr Shostak
While alien life can be seen nightly on television and in films, it has never been seen in space.
Not so much as a microbe, dead or alive, let alone a wrinkle-faced Klingon.
Despite this lack of protoplasmic presence, there are many researchers – sober, sceptical academics – who think that life beyond Earth is rampant.
They suggest proof may come within a generation. These scientists support their sunny point of view with a few astronomical facts that were unknown a generation ago.
In particular, and thanks largely to the success of Nasa’s Kepler space telescope, we can now safely claim that the universe is stuffed with temperate worlds.
In the past two decades, thousands of planets have been discovered around other stars. New ones are turning up at the rate of at least one a day.
More impressive than the tally is their sheer abundance. It seems the majority of stars have planets, implying the existence of a trillion of these small bodies in the Milky Way galaxy alone.