For renowned British astronaut Helen Sharman, one of the most pressing questions facing humanity — whether we are alone in the universe — already has an answer.
While speaking to the Guardian‘s Observer magazine, 56-year-old Sharman did not mince words when discussing the possibility of life existing amongst the stars.
“Aliens exist, there’s no two ways about it,” Sharman told the magazine. “There are so many billions of stars out there in the universe that there must be all sorts of different forms of life.”
But Sharman said aliens might not look like how they typically appear in Hollywood movies.
“There are so many billions of stars out there in the universe that there must be all sorts of different forms of life,” she said. “Will they be like you and me, made up of carbon and nitrogen? Maybe not.”
Sharman added that extraterrestrials could already be living on Earth.
“It’s possible they’re here right now,” she told the Guardian, “and we simply can’t see them.”
Sharman became the first British person to go to space in May 1991, staying aboard the Mir space station for eight days. She was only 27 at the time.
“[There’s] no greater beauty than looking at the Earth from up high,” the chemist recalled to the Guardian. “I’ll never forget the first time I saw it.”
“After take-off we left the atmosphere and suddenly light streamed in through the window. We were over the Pacific Ocean,” she added. “The gloriously deep blue seas took my breath away.”
Last year, NASA refuted a claim by a former employee that the agency found evidence of life on Mars back in the 1970s, according to Fox News.
“One of NASA’s key goals is the search for life in the universe,” NASA said in a statement at the time. “Although we have yet to find signs of extraterrestrial life, NASA is exploring the solar system and beyond to help us answer fundamental questions, including whether we are alone in the universe.”
In September, the U.S. Navy issued a rare response to leaked footage of fighter pilots who spotted an unidentified aircraft in 2015.
The object appears in the video as a black, oval aircraft, and at one point begins to rotate, puzzling both pilots.
The video was taken by a U.S. Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet off the US’ east coast, To the Stars Academy said.
“The Navy considers the phenomena contained/depicted in those three videos as unidentified,” a Navy spokesman told Vice at the time.
The Navy drafted new guidelines for its pilots to report encounters with “unidentified aircraft” last year, Politico reported.