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Evidence of Extraterrestrial Life Expected within a Decade

ALH84001 electron micrograph
Electron micrograph of martian meteorite ALH84001 showing structures that some scientists think could be fossilized bacteria-like life forms. Credit: NASA

NASA’s chief scientist is confident evidence of life beyond Earth will soon be found.

In a NASA media event April 7, Ellen Stofan said she thought scientists would find “strong indications” of extraterrestrial life in a decade, and “definitive evidence” of it in 20 to 30 years. John Grunsfeld, NASA associate administrator for science, concurred, saying we are “one generation away” from finding life both elsewhere in our solar system and in other solar systems.

Jeff Foust writes about space policy, commercial space, and related topics for SpaceNews. He earned a Ph.D. in planetary sciences from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a bachelor’s degree with honors in geophysics and planetary science...