We are on the Brink of Discovering Extraterrestrial Life, Says Brazilian Astronaut


“We are closer to finding life” outside Earth, said Brazilian astronaut Laysa Peixoto during her panel appearance at CCXP23 Unlock, an exclusive, invite-only edition of Comic Con Experience. Peixoto, who works at NASA’s L’SPACE Academy, shared her experiences and scientific findings on space exploration technologies.

Peixoto, the first Brazilian to command an aircraft from NASA at the age of 19, has a strong belief in the possibility of intelligent life in the universe. She explained that the scientific community also believes that we are getting closer to finding various forms of life, including those we have not yet identified. Contrary to popular science fiction films and series, which often depict intelligent alien life, Peixoto emphasized that there are many different possibilities of life in space.

One of the essential factors for life is water, and its presence has been discovered on several planets. Peixoto expressed her hope for future expeditions to Mars, where she believes there is a high chance of finding life.

In her discussion about the characteristics of planets and their potential for life, Peixoto drew a comparison to the fictional world of Dune. She highlighted the diverse environments that astrophysicists and astronomers have discovered, including planets completely covered by water.

Peixoto became interested in astronomy and geophysics in 2020 after attending a class by Andrea Ghez, the Nobel laureate in physics for her groundbreaking research on black holes. Ghez’s achievements inspired Peixoto and made her realize that there is a path for her own story.

Representation is essential in promoting diversity and inclusivity in the field of astronomy and astrophysics, traditionally dominated by men. Peixoto emphasized the need for better representation of women scientists in cinema and television. She believes that science fiction films should feature more female scientists and explorers, highlighting the importance of women in these roles.

Furthermore, Peixoto emphasized the significance of educational programs and projects that showcase the contributions of women who have made significant advancements in science. She believes that it is crucial for young people to see that someone like them can achieve great success in the field of science. Peixoto also highlighted the unfortunate erasure of many women scientists’ stories throughout history.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Peixoto became involved in a space-related research project. She learned to use various software for astronomical analysis, which led her to discover a new asteroid at the age of 18. This discovery was made during her physics course at the Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG) when she participated in The International Astronomical Search Collaboration program. The asteroid was eventually named LPS0003, with Peixoto’s initials attached to it.

Peixoto acknowledged the ongoing concern surrounding asteroids, as depicted in the Netflix film “Don’t Look Up.” While she agreed that movies tend to dramatize these scenarios, she emphasized that there is always a possibility of an asteroid collision with Earth. Therefore, continuous monitoring and tracking of celestial bodies passing through our solar system are critical to mitigate potential risks.

Despite studying physics at UFMG, Peixoto’s involvement in asteroid research allowed her to join the NASA program and pursue a career in astronomy. She received support from Manhattan University to further her studies and research at the United States government agency.

In conclusion, Laysa Peixoto’s work and experiences at NASA’s L’SPACE Academy demonstrate our increasing proximity to discovering life beyond Earth. Her belief in the possibility of intelligent life and the exploration of different forms of life in space reflects the ongoing advancements in scientific research. Peixoto’s call for better representation and recognition of women scientists highlights the importance of diversity in the field of astronomy and astrophysics. With continued efforts, we may soon witness remarkable discoveries that will revolutionize our understanding of the universe and our place within it.