NASA beefs up its 'alien hunters' team

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Nasa claims we'll find aliens in the next 10 to 20 years – and now the agency is revving up its efforts to track them down. The group has put together a team of 'extraterrestrial experts' to see if any of the planets discovered outside our solar system are habitable. And it says that amateur astronomers could help with its 'unprecedented' search for ET by accessing research data online.

The initiative, dubbed Nexus for Exoplanet System Science (Nexss), will include scientists from 10 universities including Stanford, the University of California and Yale.

The study of exoplanets is a relatively new field, and began with the discovery of the first exoplanet around a star like our sun in 1995.

Since the launch of the Kepler space telescope six years ago, more than 1,000 exoplanets have been found, with thousands of additional candidates waiting to be confirmed.

Nasa has set up a website for the public called Planet Hunters which allows anyone to search the data gathered by Kepler, which launched six years ago.

Scientists are also developing new ways to confirm the habitability of these worlds and search for biosignatures, or signs of life.

By applying a 'system science' approach, the team hopes to understand an alien planet's biology interacts with the atmosphere, geology, oceans, and interior of a planet.

The announcement comes just weeks after Nasa's top scientist predicted we could be on the verge of finding life on one of them.

During a talk in Washington last month, the space agency announced that humanity is likely to encounter extra-terrestrials within a decade.

Source: Daily Mail Online

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