Jill Tarter: Possibility of finding Alien Life by the end of this century

Jill Tarter: Possibility of finding Alien Life by the end of this century

Astronomer Jill Tarter believes that by the end of this century, we will be able to find alien life. Tarter made the statement during a speech at the Florida Institute of Technology’s Cross Cultural Management summit. Tarter has been inspiration for 1997 movie Contact and her role was played by Jodi Foster. Tarter added that astronomers should look for biomarks on other planets in order to find alien life. Astronomers at SETI have been working hard to find any signs of alien life.

Tarter is the research chair for NASA’s Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence program. She has been involved with NASA’s Allan Telescope Array project for search of alien life signals. During her speech, Tarter added that we are currently searching only at a minute slice of the expansive universe. While scientists are focused on Milky Way galaxy and are analyzing exoplanets, there are around 200 billion galaxies in the Universe.

Astronomers need more sophisticated instruments and with advancement of technology, we could be able to monitor additional regions and planets for signs of alien life. Tarter also expressed hope for a new "Laser SETI" initiative. She said the first prototype will be installed within a month and a half at the Lick Observatory, near San Jose, California.

Tarter added, “We’re out in the boondocks. And our star, the sun, is only one of 400 billion other stars in the Milky Way galaxy."

Tarter has received two NASA Public Service Medals, and in 2004 she was named one of Time's 100 most influential people in the world.

"We can discover it: We can find biomarkers on planets or moons of our solar system. We can find artifacts in the solar system as we explore. We can look for remote biosignatures in the atmospheres of distant exoplanets," Tarter said.

Her plan with SETI is to raise enough funds to upgrade the Allen Telescope Array, a powerful field of telescopes she helped create that survey the skies in search of alien intelligence. The farm of telescopes completed in 2007 surveys 20,000 stars near to Earth.

Tarter is also raising money for a Laser SETI initiative which will establish a prototype at the Lick Observatory near San Jose, California.