Using new telescope technology, NASA scientists expect to confirm we're not alone in the Universe in the next 20 years. But they're not necessarily looking for E.T.

Dr. Matt Mountain is director of the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore.

"We could be on the cusp of making such a great discovery that would change human history."

Dr. Mountain was one of the scientists who discussed the possibility this week at NASA's Washington headquarters.


"New technology and science are about to converge to a point when we can probably launch a telescope that can actually search the nearby stars for intelligent signs of life."

Dr. Mountain says one of his telescopes, the James Webb Space Telescope, will be launched in 2018. But he says what they find may be more like an amoeba rather than intelligent life.

"We don't know if we're going to find aliens walking around. We're looking for evidence of life in the atmospheres and we won't know whether there's just an amoeba or actually animals crawling around or in fact some sort of intelligent being."