Alien life could be discovered 'in the next 20 years,' NASA astronomer says

This undated artist's concept depicts NASA's Kepler mission's smallest habitable zone planet. File...

This undated artist's concept depicts NASA's Kepler mission's smallest habitable zone planet. File photo

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 3:47 PM ET

New NASA equipment could mean we will discover alien life and an Earth 2.0 in the near future, experts say.

"Imagine the moment that the news breaks we've discovered Earth 2.0," Matt Mountain, the director of the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, said Monday during a panel discussion at NASA headquarters, which was posted to YouTube.

"Imagine the moment the whole world wakes up to the news our long loneliness in time and space may have ended. We may no longer be alone in the universe."

Officials hope the James Webb Space Telescope, set to be launched in 2018, will help NASA discover alien life and Earth-like planets.

In a recorded message aired during the discussion, NASA astronomer Kevin Hand said there may be alien life on Jupiter's moon Europa.

"I think in the next 20 years we will find out we are not alone in the universe," he said.


Photos