We could have proof there is life on Mars within just 20 years – or less if its inhabitants discover us first.
Astrophysicist Sarah Cruddas says it will be a “game-changer” after decades of exploring the Red Planet with unmanned probes.
But she warns it is even more likely aliens will find us before we find them.
She told the Daily Star Sunday: “When you look at the numbers, it’s likely that we’re not alone in the universe.
“Humanity has wondered about it for our entire existence. And within the next few decades, perhaps even sooner, we will have a definite answer to that question.
“We are piecing together the evidence and we are likely to have the answer that will be a game-changer.
“We know Mars has been warmer and wetter, so has the conditions for microbial life, which is single cell organisms. We just haven’t been able to prove it yet.
“Whether it is microbial life or something beyond explanation is yet to be seen. But once we have an answer, we can then extrapolate that to work out how much life might actually be out there.”
Sarah, 38, reckons we should brace for aliens to visit at any time.
She added: “We shouldn’t rule out that alien life will discover us first. It may have already discovered us.
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“Alien civilisations might be much more advanced than us, which is why it’s likely they will find us before we find them.”
Sarah probes unexplained sightings with TV star Craig Charles, 57, on new series UFO Conspiracies, which starts on Tuesday at 9pm on Sky History.
She said: “There used to be a stigma attached to claiming you’ve seen a UFO. But now science is telling us we are not alone.
“We are in the most exciting time in terms of exploration and questioning what else is out there.”
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