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We are not alone?

09/11/2004. Contributed by Jessica Martin

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Astronomer Predicts Alien Contact By 2025.

Are we the only intelligent species alive in the universe? Is it possible that the amazing chain of events that led to intelligent life on earth was truly unique? Today, some scientists are convinced we are in fact not alone, and that we are on the verge of finding other life forms that inhabit the cosmos.

National Geographic Channel's Naked Science: "Alien Contact" explores the latest developments in the search for extraterrestrials on Wednesday, November 24, 2004 at 10 p.m. ET/PT. Viewers will hear from scientists, planet hunters, and others convinced that life exists beyond our planet. Naked Science dares to explore the outer limits of their theories, and helps separate scientific fact from science fiction.

Astronomical discoveries are advancing at amazing speed. In all of human history, humankind had never seen a planet beyond the nine in our own Solar System ... until 1995. But now new technologies have made it possible for us to scan the heavens for signs of life as never before. From powerful new satellites, to incredibly sensitive earth-based telescopes, including one of the largest arrays of radio telescopes ever built on Earth, Naked Science reveals how these cutting-edge technologies hold the promise of proving that we are not alone.

You'll meet some of the greatest minds dedicated to the search for intelligent life, including a new breed of scientists -- planet hunters -- who have discovered more than 130 planets outside our solar system. You'll also meet the scientists leading the search for extraterrestrials, including Senior Astronomer at the SETI Institute (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Seth Shostak who thinks it is likely that "we're going to hear from extraterrestrials by the year 2025."

What could these aliens look like? From the far reaches of the galaxy, to closer to home in our solar system, Naked Science explores the notion that the search for alien life may come in unexpected forms.

Recent discoveries have identified bizarre forms of life here on earth living in extreme conditions previously thought incapable of supporting life. You'll see how the new clues found on Earth have challenged scientists to search for forms of life completely unlike what we might once have expected. And Shostak observes, "unlike Hollywood scenarios, any intelligent extraterrestrials we find would be far beyond our level."

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