Astronomers from the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence Institute (SETI) assured the Congressional science committee that they would discover whether alien life existed in the Solar System within the next 20 years.
Seth Shostak, senior astronomer at the California-based institute, had a meeting with the House Science and Technology Committee to discuss funding. Officials stated that most of the search for extraterrestrial life and the money needed would go toward studying Mars and the moons in the outer solar system that showed potential to support life.
Searching for extraterrestrial or alien life in the solar system was just one part of the project. The second portion consisted of scanning for the presence of oxygen or methane gases in the atmospheres of distant planets - an indication of life on those celestial bodies. The third part was hunting for aliens that have the technological capacity to send radio or other space-bound signals and to eavesdrop on these signals that were believed to have originated in another world, either deliberately or accidentally.
"At least a half-dozen other worlds (besides Earth) that might have life are in our solar system. The chances of finding it, I think, are good, and if that happens, it'll happen in the next 20 years, depending on the financing," Shostak said, as quoted by the Discovery News.
"That makes sense because in fact even we, only 100 years after ... the invention of practical radio, already have the technology that would allow us to send bits of information across light years of distance to putative extraterrestrials," he added.
The probability of finding alien life in other planets is not far off: the NASA Kepler space telescope was recently able to gather images showing that 70 percent of hundreds of billions of stars in the Milky Way have planets that seemed to have water. Curiosity rover in Mars also analyzed a soil sample and found that it contained two percent of water.