Professor Sara Seager of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology planetary science and physics, told a House committee in a hearing that "The chance that there's a planet like Earth out there with life on it is very high".
"The question is: Is there life near here, in our neighborhood of stars? We think the chances are good," she said, answering a question from Rep. Ralph Hall, R-Texas, who asked: "Do you think there's life out there, and are they studying us? And what do they think about New York City?"
Seager was one of three Ph.D.-credentialed witnesses prominent in a scientific field once considered speculative who testified at a hearing called "Astrobiology: The Search for Biosignatures in Our Solar System and Beyond."
A biosignature is a substance -- such as an element, molecule or even a phenomenon -- that provides scientific evidence of past or present life.
Seager studies gases on distant planets that might indicate life.
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