Lord Martin Rees, former president of the Royal Society, believes that extraterrestrial life could be found within forty years. Rees commented on extraterrestrial life during an event to launch theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking’s television series Stephen Hawking’s Grand Design on the Discovery channel in the UK.
Lord Rees was asked about expected changes in science during the next 40 years. According to the Daily Mail, Rees responded that “finding out more about the origin of life, the place where it exists, and whether aliens exist, is going to be crucial over the next four decades.” He also explained his opinion that, within ten or twenty years, “we will be able to image other planets like the earth, orbiting other stars.” And Rees thinks this will be “a really exciting subject to see if there is evidence for [extraterrestrial] life or not.” The Daily Mail also points out that Rees stated that there may be “some scientific challenges that are ‘beyond human brains’ and that we may even need alien interaction to help us learn more.”
The Telegraph explains that Lord Rees has been “Astronomer Royal – a senior position within the Royal Household offering advice to the Queen on astronomical matters – since 1995.”
According to a Discovery channel press release, Stephen Hawking’s Grand Design “is a profound, beautiful and exciting story that will reveal the ultimate theory of physics, challenging the way you think about the cosmos forever.” Although this series already aired in the U.S. earlier this year, the show premieres Thursday, September 13 on Discovery UK.