Humanity will make contact with alien life far sooner than you might think, according to one prominent scientist.
Nobel Prize winner professor Didier Queloz says he’s convinced we’re not alone in the universe and that he believes we could find life on another planet within 30 years.
The Swiss astronomer, 53, works at the University of Cambridge and was one of three scientists to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics this week.
Speaking in London on Tuesday, he said: “I can’t believe we are the only living entity in the universe. There are just way too many planets, way too many stars and the chemistry is universal.
“The chemistry that led to life has to happen elsewhere.”
Queloz added that he’s certain alien life will have been detected from Earth within the next century.
However, he said it’s realistic that a machine capable of detecting biochemical activity on distant planets could be built within 30 years.
Currently, scientists know of a number of so-called exoplanets — worlds outside of our solar system — that could harbor life, but don’t have the equipment to spot life.
A machine that detects biochemical activity from afar would grant experts the ability to find life at great distances. Once built, it’s likely only a matter of time until we get a positive hit.
Queloz split this year’s Nobel for physics with colleague and fellow Swiss Professor Michel Mayor.
They were honored for finding an exoplanet that orbits a sun-like star.
Mayor and Queloz started a revolution in astronomy when they discovered 51 Pegasi B, a gaseous ball comparable with Jupiter, in 1995.
The find was made at a time when, as Mayor recalled, “no one knew whether exoplanets existed or not.”
That was “the first step in our search for, ‘Are we alone?’” said astronomer Lisa Kaltenegger, director of the Carl Sagan Institute at Cornell University.
More than 4,000 exoplanets have since been found in the Milky Way and scientists think one out of every four or five stars have planets.
“We have 200 billion stars out there in our galaxy alone, so I like our chances,” Kaltenegger said.