Seriously, Aliens Exist, Top Astronomers Tell Congress (Admittedly, For Funding)
Extraterrestrial life is out there, according to two top astronomers who told Congress Wednesday that aliens exist. Oh, and they could be discovered in the next 20 years, they added. In a hearing with members of a Congressional science committee on Wednesday, experts from the SETI Research Center at the University of California-Berkeley said the chances of finding other life forms outside of earth are "good" and could come within our lifetime. Time to break out those tin foil hats!
Now, we're not talking little green men or the types of monstrosities in Men in Black, rather, astronomers argue there are billions of galaxies outside our Milky Way where some type of intelligent life could emerge and evolve — they just need the funds to prove it.
"The possibility that life has arisen elsewhere, and perhaps evolved intelligence, is plausible and warrants scientific inquiry," SETI director Dan Werthimer said in his testimony.
While both Werthimer and colleague Seth Shostak agree that there have yet to be visits from our outer space friends, the two argued that it would be wrong not to wonder what other beings are out there. Citing the trillions of planets in the galaxy, Shostak said that one in five stars may have planets more like Earth, adding that there could be different stages of life in the universe as well as advanced civilizations.
Even Katy Perry believes in other intelligent beings, so why can't Congress, right? It's not the first time a committee discussed the search for extraterrestrial life, but not all lawmakers are convinced it's a serious matter.
As the experts explained their planned strategies to discover ET, some panel members fired back questions with a bit of ridicule. Rep. Suzanne Bonamici asked, "What do we do when we find life on another planet?...What's the plan? Do we announce it to the world?" To which Shostak said that while many have believed the government has kept a hidden agenda for aliens, "nobody in the government shows the slightest bit of interest" in SETI's research.
Among other serious queries, one lawmaker asked if the astronomers had watched Ancient Aliens and "what is your comment on the series?" Way to support science, Congress.
But it's no laughing matter to researchers, who outlined a three-step approach in studying extraterrestrial life: focusing on Mars and the potential of other life-bearing moons, scanning the atmospheres of distant planets for signs of oxygen or methane, and looking for indications that other lifeforms are sending radio or other signals out into space.