Area 51
The Alien Research Center, a retail souvenir shop located near the military testing base known as Area 51 in Rachel, Nev., Aug. 20, 2013. Image Credit: NYT

London: Helen Sharman, the first British astronaut to go to space, has said that aliens exist and it was possible they were already here on Earth, a media report said on Monday.

“Aliens exist, there’s no two ways about it. There are so many billions of stars out there in the universe that there must be all sorts of different forms of life,” said in the reported citing Sharman as saying to a UK magazine.

She added that although they may not be made up of carbon and nitrogen like humans, “it’s possible they’re here right now and we simply can’t see them”.

The chemist spent eight days as a researcher on the space mission when she was 27, making her one of the youngest people to enter orbit.

Nasa rovers are trawling Mars for evidence of past or present life forms, but humankind’s endless fascination with extraterrestrial life forms has so far proved fruitless.

Sharman, 56, made history when she participated in a mission to the Russian modular space station Mir in May 1991.

In the interview, the astronaut also highlighted how she was often referred to as the first British woman in space, rather than the first Briton.

“It’s telling that we would otherwise assume it was a man. 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,” quoted her as saying.