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If we discovered evidence of alien life, would we even realize it? Life on other planets could be so different from what we're used to that we might not recognize any biological signatures that it produces.
Recent years have seen changes to our theories about what counts as a biosignature and which planets might be habitable, and further turnarounds are inevitable. But the best we can really do is interpret the data we have with our current best theory, not with some future idea we haven't had yet.
This is a big issue for those involved in the search for extraterrestrial life. As Scott Gaudi of Nasa's Advisory Council has said: "One thing I am quite sure of, now having spent more than 20 years in this field of exoplanets … expect the unexpected."
In the search for extraterrestrial life, scientists must be thoroughly open-minded. And this means a certain amount of encouragement for non-mainstream ideas and techniques. Examples from past science (including very recent ones) show that non-mainstream ideas can sometimes be strongly held back. Space agencies such as NASA must learn from such cases if they truly believe that, in the search for alien life, we should "expect the unexpected."
The truth is definitely out there, and maybe even here on Earth, according to Great Britain’s first astronaut.
“Aliens exist,” Helen Sharman, 56, who flew to Soviet space station Mir in May 1991, told the Observer. “There’s no two ways about it.”
Obrador on Friday called for Wikileaks founder Julian Assange to be released from prison in London, urging an end to what he described as his "torture" in detention.