Extra-terrestrial life does exist, the head of Nasa has confirmed, but said aliens were not hidden in Area 51.
Nasa Administrator Major Charles Bolden told British schoolchildren that he was confident that scientists would find life outside of Earth because there were so many planets that are similar to our own.
Asked by 10-year-old Carmen Dearing if he believed in aliens, he said: «I do believe that we will someday find other forms of life or a form of life, if not in our solar system then in some of the other solar systems — the billions of solar systems in the universe.
“Today we know that there are literally thousands, if not millions of other planets, many of which may be very similar to our own earth. So some of us, many of us believe that we’re going to find…evidence that there is life elsewhere in the universe.»
Major Bolden also admitted that Area 51 existed but said the US government was not hiding alien life there.
“There is an Area 51,” he said. “It’s not what many people think. I’ve been to a place called that but it’s a normal research and development place. I never saw any aliens or alien spacecraft or anything when I was there.
“It think because of the secrecy of the aeronautics research that goes on there it’s ripe for people to talk about aliens being there.”
The existence of Area 51, has been a badly kept secret for decades and it has fuelled the imaginations of conspiracy theorists and UFO hunters around the world
In 2013 the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) acknowledged its exact location in Nevada, near Groom Lake, in a series of documents released as part of a Freedom of Information request.
The documents describe how the facility had been used during the Second World War as an aerial gunnery for the Army Air Corp pilots.
President Dwight Eisenhower later approved “this strip of wasteland, known by its map designation as Area 51, to the Atomic Energy Commissions Nevada test site and training range. It then became central in the development of the U-2 spy plane.
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Major Bolden also said that one of the main reasons humans have not yet landed on Mars was down to the lack of adequate toilet facilities.
Nasa is hoping to send humans to Mars in the 2030s but said there were technological hurdles that still needed to be overcome.
“The goal is to have us there in the early 30s. They won’t land, they’ll probably do an orbital mission like the first time we went to the Moon. We’ve got to get the Martian surface ready for human habitation.
“We’re not going to send humans down to the surface of Mars to build the habitats, the houses, we’re probably going to use robots.
“Our technical abilities are not what we want it to be now. We need better life support systems, we need a toilet that’s not going to break on the way there, then when we get to the Martian surface we need (a toilet) that’s going to work over and over again. Toilets are a big deal.”
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Major Bolden was also asked if he became frustrated by conspiracy theorists who claimed the Moon landing was faked.
“I understand people have doubts,” he said. “I have no doubts we went to the moon and I have no doubts that we’re going to mars in your lifetime.”
Mr Bolden was answering questions for the children’s newspaper First News show Hotseat which is broadcast on Sky News.