Representatives from NASA, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the Library of Congress testified before a House committee in Washington today to discuss the possibility of life in our solar system and neighboring galaxies, and the message was clear: more money needs to spent in the search for life elsewhere.
"We need to invest in the technology now."
The White House currently has NASA's 2014 budget set for $17.7 billion, which is down about $59 million from what the organization had last year. That figure won't help expedite with the search for future discoveries says Dr. Sara Seager, an astrophysicist at MIT. Seager told the committee the government needs to more deeply invest in technology for detecting gasses on other planets that would suggest life through biosignatures. "We need to invest in the technology now so this (quest) can actually happen at some point," Seager said.
The good news, the panel of experts said, is that the chances of finding life in some 3,500 neighboring planets is high. However, it may be of the microscopic variety — in other words, not big enough to fill up your bike basket.