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Humanity will detect aliens by 2040, researcher says

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April 17, 2012: A NASA Hubble Space Telescope composite image shows star cluster NGC 2060, a loose collection of stars in 30 Doradus, located in the heart of the Tarantula Nebula 170,000 light years away in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a small, satellite galaxy of our Milky Way. (Reuters)

Intelligent extraterrestrial beings are out there, and we’ll be meeting them shortly – perhaps within the next 25 years, according to one scientist.

A researcher for the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence says humanity will detect aliens by the year 2040, LiveScience.com reports.

'I think we’ll find E.T. within two dozen years using these sorts of experiments.'

- SETI’s Seth Shostak

That’s because, by then, astronomers will have scanned enough star systems to detect alien-produced electromagnetic signals.

“I think we’ll find E.T. within two dozen years using these sorts of experiments,” SETI’s Seth Shostak said during a Feb. 6 discussion at the 2014 NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts symposium at Stanford University. “Instead of looking at a few thousand star systems, which is the tally so far, we will have looked at maybe a million star systems” by 2040, he said.

Part of Shostak’s confidence is based on progress made by NASA’s planet-hunting Kepler space telescope, which has turned up evidence that the Milky Way galaxy is packed with worlds capable of supporting life as we know it.

Shostak believes one in five stars has at least one planet where life might be possible – a “fantastically large percentage” that means there are potentially tens of billions of Earth-like worlds in the galaxy.

And if, on some of those worlds, intelligent life exists, then they’re probably doing what we’re doing, Shostak said – sending out radio transmissions as they listen, patiently and alertly, for someone to make contact with them.