The first British person to ever go into space believes that aliens are real – and that they may be among us.

Helen Sharman, who in May 1991 made history as the first Brit to go to space when she was launched on the spacecraft Soyuz for eight days and visited the Soviet-operated space station Mir, told the Observer about her belief in extraterrestrial forces in an interview published Sunday.

“There are so many billions of stars out there in the universe that there must be all sorts of different forms of life,” she said.

She added that the beings may not be made of carbon and nitrogen – two of the composite elements in the human body – but rather of materials unseen by the human eye.

Instead, Sharman said, “it’s possible they’re here right now and we simply can’t see them.”

Elsewhere in the interview, she pointed out the sexism in the assumption that the first British astronaut must have been a man. "People often describe me as the first British woman in space, but I was actually the first British person," she said. "It’s telling that we would otherwise assume it was a man."

Sharman, 56, is now a chemist at Imperial College, London. She did not immediately respond to a request for comment from USA TODAY.

Though Sharman may be one of the first astronauts to share their beliefs in the alien unknown so publicly, she isn't alone. Apollo 11 astronaut Michael Collins, when asked on Twitter if he believed in life outside Earth, responded with “yes” – without any further context.