What does NASA think about the existence of extraterrestrials? NASA is a huge government organization with a lot of different opinions that are tempered by public relations people who work hard to keep any secrets from leaking out … but sometimes they do. The search for extraterrestrial intelligence falls under the department of astrobiology, so it seems appropriate that NASA astrobiologist Dr. Lindsay Hays answered the question, “Do Aliens Exist?” on an official NASA Instagram page. Does that make it NASA’s official stance? Let’s find out.
“Do aliens exist? Extraterrestrial life has never been discovered. However, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.”
In 90 seconds (that’s not a good sign that this will be a profound, in-depth and potentially this-changes-everything kind of answer), Dr. Hays takes a quick trip to Mars, where humans have done the most on-site exploring for life, and to other planets and their moons where life probably has a better chance due to an abundance of water. She then expands the definition of life on Earth to expand all of the way down to microbes, pointing out that this means every square inch of the planet is covered in life, while arguing that our definition of life on Earth is changing so our definition of extraterrestrial life must change too. And if we expand the definition of life, that leads to new ideas on the definition of ‘habitable’.
“Not just in our solar system, the more exo-planets we find around other stars, the more we learn about how many environments could exist for life.”
If you haven’t figured it out by now, this is pretty much just 90 seconds of fluff (watch it on YouTube) with nothing concrete that we could hold NASA to, and nothing anywhere near an everything-changing leak. If you haven’t been convinced up until that point, Dr. Hays closes, not with the comments of an astronaut or a current fellow astrobiologist studying the Mars rocks – she quotes Carl Sagan instead.
“The universe is a pretty big place. If it’s just us it seems like an awful waste of space.”
That’s true. Unfortunately, the same could be said of this 90 second commentary on the NASA Instagram page. Nothing personal, Dr. Hays. You probably had much more you wanted to say, but your bosses were dangling your paycheck in front of you. One of these days, a NASA scientist will break out of the shackles and expose the truth. In the meantime, we would be wise to look at some of the other things Carl Sagan said about our lack of knowledge about space and science.
“We live in a society exquisitely dependent on science and technology, in which hardly anyone knows anything about science and technology.”
“We have also arranged things so that almost no one understands science and technology. This is a prescription for disaster. We might get away with it for a while, but sooner or later this combustible mixture of ignorance and power is going to blow up in our faces.”
If it hasn’t already. We miss you, Carl.