RT spoke with Andrey Finkelstein, Director of the Institute of Applied Astronomy about the scientific reasoning behind his controversial statement that in 20 years humanity will discover aliens and they are likely to look much like humans.

RT: Mr. Finkelstein, thank you for being with us tonight. You have promised that in twenty years’ time you will have discovered life on other planets. Are we actually talking about aliens, or merely some bacteria?

Andrey Finkelstein: We are talking life forms, of course. What particular form such life could be is a separate question. Where there is life, intelligence and civilization are a possibility. But discovering life is of primary importance.

RT: In what form?

AF: What I’m going to tell you is a paradox. The form will definitely be well-known to us. In my opinion, and I believe experts generally agree on this, life and intelligence, should they exist elsewhere at all, should be highly human-like.

You see, essentially, the origins of life follow the same pattern, just as it is with atoms, molecules or macromolecules. There are fundamental laws of physics that apply invariably in each case. These laws have been thoroughly researched and explained. Now all you need is the right environment that would enable a process like that to start.

For example, an atom of hydrogen that originates in a galaxy located millions of parsecs away from us — that is hundreds of millions of light years away — is absolutely identical to a hydrogen atom that originates in our Solar System. Because fundamental laws are universal.

And it’s the same with the fundamental laws that govern the origins of life, including the fundamental laws of evolution. These are universal, so all living things should have the same composition, and living organisms should look like the ones we encounter on Earth.