NASA's head said that extraterrestrial life exists but, contrary to popular notion, aliens were not being kept in Area 51.
NASA Administrator Major Charles Bolden was taking questions from British schoolchildren during Sky News' "Hot Seat" program when 10-year-old Carmen Dearing asked him if he believed in aliens.
Bolden expressed his confidence that scientists would be able to discover life outside of our planet given the number of planets that are similar to Earth. He said that if such life does not exist in the solar system, then possibly in some of the billions of galaxies in the universe.
"Today we know that there are literally thousands, if not millions of other planets, many of which may be very similar to our own earth," Bolden said. "Some of us, many of us believe that we're going to find ... evidence that there is life elsewhere in the universe."
Bolden explain that scientists could find alien life using the James Webb telescope, which is set to be launched three years from now. The telescope will provide astronomers with the capability to examine the atmospheres of other planets and look for atmospheric signatures that could hint the presence of life.
In the quest to find evidence of alien life in the solar system, the U.S. space agency is now working on a plan to explore Europa, one of Jupiter's moons that could possibly harbor life. Data taken by telescopes and other scientific instruments suggest that the moon has a massive liquid ocean under its surface. The spacecraft being built to explore the alien world is set to be completed and launch in the 2020s.
Bolden likewise confirmed that Area 51, a place in the Nevada desert popularly believed to be the government's hiding place for everything extraterrestrial, exists. The NASA head, however, said that it is a research and development place and that he has not seen aliens or UFOs there.
He said that the possible reason people talk about aliens being held in Area 51 is the secrecy of the aeronautics research that is being conducted there.
Bolden is not the first NASA scientist to speak of extraterrestrial life. NASA chief scientist Ellen Stofan also said that she believed in alien life and with the advances in science and technology, she thinks that proof of alien life forms will finally be found in as early as about a decade.
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