- It's only a matter of time before we find life in space, says astrophysicist Brian Schmidt, who in 2011 won the Nobel Prize in physics.
- If you had asked me 20 years ago if we would find life in space in my lifetime, I'd answered no. When someone asks me today, I answer yes, says the 48-year-old professor, according to Videnskab.dk.
During a speech at the Niels Bohr Institute in Denmark, where he recently received an honorary medal, the professor said that the biggest question we can ask is whether there is life out there.
The speech was devoted to the future. What can we expect of great discoveries in astrophysics for the next 10, 20 or 50 years? Will we find life? Will it find us?
He explained that there has been a tremendous development over the past 20 years.
- In 1995 we knew no exoplanets. Now we have confirmed 2042 such planets. We have undergone a revolution over the past couple of decades, and today it is actually possible for us to find planets around other stars, said Schmidt.
He referred to the Kepler project, the telescope in space which since 2009 has been used to look for other habitable planets.
- Kepler is making us wiser on how common Earth-like planets are, and we now know that planets like Earth exist everywhere in outer space, the professor said.
Exoplanets are planets orbiting other stars in solar systems other than our own. Much research in astrophysics is used to find just the planets that are candidates to be home to some form of life.
But because these other solar systems are so far away, new methods to confirm planetary presence are needed. And there has been a great development in recent years, says Schmidt, who is optimistic about finding life. He mentions, among other telescopes HARPS, Robo-AO, ALMA and HAT South.
- We are all the time building new telescopes and keep getting a greater understanding of what is happening in the space around us. Maybe we'll become the first in the universe to make the technology needed to find and visit other civilizations, says Schmidt according to the website.
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