Life may exist on at least half-a-dozen other worlds - besides the Earth - and it may just take us another two decades to discover it, according to scientists.
Scientists are searching for life beyond Earth using three different methods, Seth Shostak, senior astronomer with the California-based SETI Institute, said during a hearing before the House Science and Technology Committee.
The first method involves the search for microbial extraterrestrials or their remains.
Most efforts, so far, to find alien life have focused on Mars and potential life-bearing moons in the outer solar system, the 'Discovery News' reported.
"At least a half-dozen other worlds (besides Earth) that might have life are in our solar system. The chances of finding it, I think, are good, and if that happens, it'll happen in the next 20 years, depending on the financing," Shostak said.
A second scientific initiative scans the atmospheres of distant planets to search for telltale signs of oxygen or methane, which, on Earth, are mostly associated with life.
Shostak said these investigations could likewise yield results in the next 20 years.
The third method involves hunting for technologically advanced extraterrestrial life that is sending radio or other signals out into space, the report said.
The idea behind the Search of Extraterrestrial Intelligence, or SETI, is to eavesdrop on signals that are deliberately or accidentally leaked from another world.
"That makes sense because in fact even we, only 100 years after the invention of practical radio, already have the technology that would allow us to send bits of information across light years of distance to putative extraterrestrials," Shostak said.