NASA is getting pretty serious about finding alien life, even claiming it’ll find definitive evidence in the next 20 years. To help the agency fast track its search, a new coalition is being launched that’s dedicated solely to finding “life on planets outside our solar system.”
The alien-hunting group has been dubbed “NExSS,” and is designed to figure out the inner workings of exoplanets and their potential for supporting life. The discipline of studying exoplanets is actually a relatively new field; the first exoplanet around a star like our sun was only just discovered back in 1995.
“The key to this effort is understanding how biology interacts with the atmosphere, geology, oceans, and interior of a planet, and how these interactions are affected by a host star,” explained NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
This approach should give scientists the data they need to better understand how to identify alien life. After that, it’s just a matter of figuring out how and why. A number of different disciplines will contribute to the mission’s goal, which is to ultimately search for, and maybe confirm, alien life exists outside of our solar system.
Over 1,000 exoplanets have been discovered since 1995, and there are many more out there that we haven’t yet come across.
NASA Chief Scientist Ellen Stofan said we know where and how to look, and we have the technology to implement a search, so we’re closer than ever to answering the question of whether we’re really alone in the universe.