ALIEN life could be discovered as early as next year with NASA’s most advanced telescope ever set to launch.
The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is scheduled to take off next year and astronomers believe the super-powerful spier is experts’ best hope to date of finding life beyond Earth.
The JWST is the successor to the Hubble Telescope and is much more powerful. The successor will be able to see further into space, as well as more accurately measure the content of water, carbon dioxide and other components in the atmosphere of an exoplanet – a planet outside of our solar system – as well as tell scientists more about the size and distance these planets are from their host stars.
As a result, the giant telescope which sports a huge mirror to garner light, is being heralded as the best chance of finding alien life.
With a launch scheduled for next year, scientists feel that it is only a matter of time before alien life is discovered.
Matt Mountain, director and Webb telescope scientist at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, said: ”What we didn’t know five years ago is that perhaps 10 to 20 per cent of stars around us have Earth-size planets in the habitable zone.
“It’s within our grasp to pull off a discovery that will change the world forever.
“It is going to take a continuing partnership between NASA, science, technology, the US and international space endeavours, as exemplified by the James Webb Space Telescope, to build the next bridge to humanity’s future.”
Mr Mountain added: “Just imagine the moment, when we find potential signatures of life. Imagine the moment when the world wakes up and the human race realizes that its long loneliness in time and space may be over – the possibility we’re no longer alone in the universe.”
However, the £6billion telescope is expected to last just five years, so its underling, Hubble, is already shortlisting planets for the newcomer to examine as scientists face a race against time, Kevin Stevenson at the University of Chicago told New Scientist.
He said: “A training set is probably a good way of looking at it.”