If intelligent alien life exists we will find it within two decades, thanks to advances in computer power speeding up our search of star systems, says the SETI Institute's senior astronomer Seth Shostak.
SETI (search for extraterrestrial intelligence) was founded in 1984 to explore the universe and find life on other planets. It runs a series of programs using radio and optical telescopes to search for signals from aliens. The work is reliant on computers to extract any artificial signals from the "noise" of the universe.
Although the first SETI experiment was conducted around 50 years ago and there have been no signals detected that prove the existence of alien intelligence, Shostak said he was confident that if there is life out there we will find it within two decades.
Previous searches have covered a few thousand star systems "at most" and it is likely that we would need to scour "a few million" before we were successful, he said in an interview with Popular Mechanics. But advances in computer technology have sped up the search and will continue to do so.