September 7, 2012
Alien Life May Be Found Within 40 Years Claims Royal Astronomer To The Queen
Lawrence LeBlond for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
Finding alien life beyond our solar system would be the most profound discovery in all of humanity, and a royal astronomer for the Queen of England believes it could happen within the next 40 years.
Former Royal Society president, Lord Martin Rees, speaking at the launch of Professor Stephen Hawking´s new series ℠Grand Design,´ said evidence of whether alien life exists elsewhere in the universe could be answered in that timeframe. He said he believes that astro-physicists could be able to view images of distant planets outside the solar system as early as 2025, potentially leading to the discovery of some form of life, the Telegraph reported.
“We know now that stars are orbited by retinues of planets just as our sun is. We have learned this in just the last decade, essentially,” Rees said. “Within 10 or 20 years we will be able to image other planets like the earth, orbiting other stars. That will be a really exciting subject to see if there is evidence for [extra-terrestrial] life or not.”
Hawking´s series, which will air on Discovery Channel beginning next Thursday, will be based on his best-selling book by the same name. It will study everything from Isaac Newton´s theories on gravity to the recent Higgs boson findings, and everything in between. He will also air his take on the relationship between God and science, and what the meaning of life is for humans, reports Mail Online´s Liz Thomas.
Hawking had previously described heaven as a “fairytale.” That controversy will become even more heated when he talks more about the subject during the new series. “I think science can explain the universe without the need for God,” he said at the series launch.
Rees admitted that there could be some scientific challenges that are “beyond human brains” and that we may need alien interaction to help us learn more. “There may be some questions that our brains will never understand, in the same way that chimpanzees couldn't understand quantum theory, that are just beyond human brains.”
It may even take another step in the evolutionary chain before these challenges can be understood, he added. We may also have to wait and learn from some aliens that may be far ahead of us, Mail Online reports.
Rees said previously that aliens may be “staring us in the face” in a form that humans are not yet able to recognize. “The problem is that we're looking for something very much like us, assuming that they at least have something like the same mathematics and technology. I suspect there could be life and intelligence out there in forms we can't conceive.”
In related news, the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI) Institute may have to restrict its radio telescope operations--which hunt for signs of alien intelligence form other worlds--unless it can bridge a gap in funding.