europa moon
Europa has been touted as a possible home to alien lifeNASA/JPL/DLR

A top scientist at Nasa has claimed the space organisation is on the "cusp" of finding out if indeed there is alien life.

Speaking at the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, Dr John Grunsfield, an ex-astronaut now at the helm of Nasa's Science Mission Doctorate, said: "Are we alone? Many, many people on planet Earth want to know. We are on the cusp of being able to answer that question ... because of the investments we're making in space technology."

Several high powerful satellites and telescopes have been commissioned across the globe, such as the world's biggest, currently being constructed in China, as scientists up the ante in the search for extra-terrestrial beings in the far reaches of the universe.

Additionally, Russian billionaire Yuri Milner has ploughed $100m of his own money into finding out if we have company. Nonetheless, the panellists at the event on 28 July urged authorities to keep on spending.

Dr Alan Stern, the principal investigator for the New Horizons mission, said: "We found evidence of nitrogen glaciers... A mountain range as tall as the Rockies. With only 5% of the data on the ground, we all feel like we need to fasten our seatbelts for the remaining 95%. This is quite a ride, scientifically," as reported by the Huffington Post.

The committee's chairman, Lamar Smith, added: "It is crucial that Nasa continues to explore our solar system. Planetary science teaches us about how our solar system works and provides clues about how it was formed."

Donna Edwards, a representative of the Democratic Party for Maryland and part of the panel, said that although it may take time, it is imperative that the money is available until there are distinctive results.

She added: "I would like us, as members of Congress, to step aside and make sure we provide you the resources you need, and expect that we may not know the value of that for 50 years in the running. I am indeed OK with that."