The evidence that aliens exist has been slowly mounting for decades and 2017 marks the most convincing year yet for the belief that life must exist beyond our planet.
And believing in the extraterrestrial is no longer reserved for conspiracy theorists in tinfoil hats. Nearly half of humanity believes aliens are out there, according to a recent study, and in June, the European Space Agency signed off on a $668 million mission that will hunt for other life forms 932,000 miles into space. Meanwhile, scientists continue to be baffled by a bunch of mysterious signals that keep emanating from faraway galaxies.
Here are five stories that prove it’s only a matter of time before we meet our celestial neighbors.
Scientists have long presumed that if we’re going to find life on other planets, we’re going to find them in the “Goldilocks zone” — spots throughout the universe where conditions are just right for water to exist.
The intergalactic search for our neighbors grew more promising in 2017 with dozens more “super-Earth” discoveries.
Sam Manafort, who’s studying Human Factors and Applied Cognition at George Mason University, crunched numbers from the National UFO Reporting Center. In his report, he found that since the first recorded UFO flew over Portugal in 1905, there have been at least 104,947 sightings.
But the number of yearly sightings has spiked dramatically from about 5,000 in 1980 to about 45,000 in 2010. In the US alone, there are 2,500 sightings per 10 million people — something Manafort attributes to the fact that most of the US has access to the internet.
Most of the sightings have come from the West and Northwest, an area that lines up with America’s “UFO highway” — a latitude line across the US that a pair of sibling alien hunters believes is an entrance for extraterrestrial spacecraft.
The duo, whose book “37th Parallel” is being made into a movie, state that during years-long travels across the US, the most bizarre paranormal phenomenon took place along the 37th latitude line.
This line stretches from California through Nevada, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky and across to Virginia.
Dubbed Trans-Neptunian objects, these celestial bodies might benefit from tidal heating. This means that these icy planets have moons with enough gravitational pull to create energy beneath the planet’s surface — which generates heat and allows a sub-surface ocean to exist. The findings were published in Icarus.
“These objects need to be considered as potential reservoirs of water and life,” Prabal Saxena of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center said in a press release. “If our study is correct, we now may have more places in our solar system that possess some of the critical elements for extraterrestrial life.”