Scientists from NASA firmly believe that we will find an alien planet, and that we can say, "that planet can support life." In the past few days we have gotten news that there are quite possibly billions of planets in the Milky Way that can suport life. Including up to 100 planets within 20 light years.
Most of these planets that we have found have come from the Kepler planet finding project. "I believe Kepler will find a 'Goldilocks planet' within the next two years," Shawn Domagal-Goldman, a researcher at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C. said in a statement. "We'll be able to point at a specific star in the night sky and say 'There it is — a planet that could support life!'"
NASA also has plans to use the Tess (Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite). Supported in part by Google, this mission is designed to find alien planets in our local galactic neighborhood. Tess would study hundreds of stars within 50 light-years of Earth, close enough to study in some detail.
"With better detectors and instruments designed to block the glare of the parent stars, these next-generation telescopes could not only find a Goldilocks planet, but also tell us what its atmosphere is made of, what sort of cloud cover graces its skies, and maybe even what the surface is like — whether oceans cover part of the globe, how much land there is, and so on," Hudgins said.
Domagal-Goldman expects big finds, and big surprises. "We've found so many unexpected things about planets that now I expect to be amazed," he said. "When we can study a Goldilocks planet, I believe we'll discover something revolutionary about how life interacts with a planetary environment. Nature is so much more diverse than we anticipated."