The Juno spacecraft orbiting Jupiter will be taking a close look at Europa soon, which scientists believe is a strong candidate for hosting life.
An expert from the Imperial College London is making waves with his claim that 2017 could be the year we finally discover aliens. Simon Foster, a physicist at the institution, was quoted in the UK newspaper The Sun as saying that the Cassini and Juno space probes exploring two moons that are noteworthy for being good candidates for life may make some significant discoveries in the coming year.
Juno recently arrived in orbit around Jupiter a few months ago, and will fly by its moon Europa, and Cassini will wrap up its career in September 2017 but not before paying a visit to Saturn’s moon Enceladus. Both have been proposed as strong candidates for hosting life, and that’s why Foster thinks this could finally be the year. Obviously, the life would be microbial and not advanced, but finding even the most basic forms of life on another planet would be perhaps the most groundbreaking scientific discovery ever.
Of course, predicting scientific discoveries is just about impossible, and there have been false alarms when it comes to alien life, but mankind has been greatly expanding its reach throughout the solar system in recent years. If there is life in the solar system outside of Earth, it seems more and more likely that humans will find it sooner rather than later.
“This past year marked record-breaking progress in our exploration objectives,” said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden in a recent statement. “We advanced the capabilities we’ll need to travel farther into the solar system while increasing observations of our home and the universe, learning more about how to continuously live and work in space, and, of course, inspiring the next generation of leaders to take up our Journey to Mars and make their own discoveries.”