Curious about just how astrobiologists plan to make good on their goal to find life in space in the next 20 years? We've compiled some of the coolest upcoming search-for-life projects we could find--check out our feature on the subject here, and browse the gallery below for a guide to some of the most impressive efforts directed at finding extraterrestrial life.
Click to launch our guide to the current efforts dedicated to finding life in space.
As part of my article about the search for extraterrestrial life, I interviewed Seth Shostak, a senior astronomer at the SETI Institute in Mountain View, California, about when we'll find ET, why intelligent beings will be artificial, not biological, and why arms and legs make more sense than wheels. Here's the fascinating transcript of what he had to say.
"The genesis of life is as inevitable as the formation of atoms," is how Andrei Finkelstein, the director of the Russian Academy of Sciences's Applied Astronomy Institute, explained his ambitious timeline for finding alien life to an audience of astrobiologists and reporters in June. "There is life on other planets, and we will find it in 20 years."
But Tullis Onstott, a geologist at Princeton University who specializes in astrobiology, makes an even more ambitious prediction. "In the next 15 years," he says, "we will likely discover life on an exoplanet near us." Scientists have long predicted the discovery of extraterrestrial life, but Finkelstein and Onstott have good reason to be optimistic. Researchers are devoting more resources to the search for alien life than ever before, and they are getting some enticing results.