My sole evidence for this claim is a tweet, obviously:
— Tim Ryan (@Timothy_F_Ryan) August 25, 2016
The New York Times article is worth a read if you're into that sort of thing. I happen to be, and my hunch is that people interested in the possibility of alien life on exoplanets are also scifi nerds, hence my theory about T-Ry.
Tim if you're out there and you want trade notes on fantasy scifi lit, feel free to email me.