Putting all speculations about the existence of alien life at rest, the first Briton in space has said that aliens exist and it is very much possible that they are among us on Earth. Dr Helen Sharman, who visited the Soviet Mir space station in May 1991, told the Observer Magazine that extra-terrestrial life is definitely somewhere around in the universe.
"Aliens exist, there's no two ways about it," the 56-year-old chemist said. "There are so many billions of stars out there in the universe that there must be all sorts of different forms of life," she went on. "Will they be like you and me, made up of carbon and nitrogen? Maybe not."
Experience in space
In the interview, Dr Sharman, who now works at Imperial College, London, also added: "It's possible they're here right now and we simply can't see them." Describing her experience of watching the Earth from space, she said: "There's no greater beauty than looking at the Earth from up high – and I'll never forget the first time I saw it."
"After take-off we left the atmosphere and suddenly light streamed in through the window. We were over the Pacific Ocean. The gloriously deep blue seas took my breath away," she added.
Is it necessary to highlight woman?
The chemist also spoke about how she is often referred to as the first British woman in space, rather than simply the first Briton. But, she is not very happy about people defining her by her gender. "It's telling that we would otherwise assume it was a man," she said. "When Tim Peake went into space, some people simply forgot about me. A man going first would be the norm, so I'm thrilled that I got to upset that order."
Dr Sharman also shared her experience in space and said that it "taught me that it's people, not material goods, which truly matter". She said: "Up there we had all we needed to survive: the right temperature, food and drink, safety. I gave no thought to the physical items I owned on Earth. When we flew over specific parts of the globe, it was always our loved ones we thought of down below us."