The discovery of life on another planet may only be a couple of years away according to a top Nasa scientist.
Dr Jim Green has spearheaded a project to send two rovers to Mars to drill beneath the surface and hunt for signs of life.
Nasa’s chief scientist told The Telegraph newspaper that he believes these missions could be successful, but that the world is “not prepared” for the discovery of life elsewhere in the universe.
“It will start a whole new line of thinking,” he said, “but I don’t think we’re prepared for the results.
“It will be revolutionary. It’s like when Copernicus stated ‘no we go around the Sun’.
“Completely revolutionary. It will start a whole new line of thinking.”
Nasa is due to launch one ExoMars rover next year and another in 2021. Both are tasked with hunting for signs of life among other experiments.
In the interview Dr Green also dropped a mysterious hint about a major breakthrough that may be coming soon:
He said: “I’ve been worried about that because I think we’re close to finding it and making some announcements.”
The artist’s impression above shows that Mars may have had water filled oceans covering almost half of its northern hemisphere. European Southern Observatory / M. Kornmesser