Alien life could possibly exist on a comet currently being explored according to two leading astronomers.
Although the comet has a black crust darkening a good portion of its surface, the European Space Agency’s Philae lander, which landed on the comet in November, has collected data showing evidence indicating possible life.
Astronomers Max Wallis and Chandra Wickramasinghe have reportedly spotted evidence of an underlying icy structure beneath the comet’s organic, rich black crust that could provide a home to an abundance of alien microbial life, according to the astronomers.
The comet, named Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, also has been shown to include icy seas and craters that contain frozen lakes and organic debris.
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The findings of Wallis and Wickramasinghe were presented on July 6 at the Royal Astronomical Society’s national meeting in Wales, where they announced possibility of the comet being home to microorganisms, reports ABC News.
"Five hundred years ago it was a struggle to have people accept that the Earth was not the center of the universe," Wickramasinghe said, reports The Guardian. "After that revolution our thinking has remained Earth-centered in relation to life and biology. It's deeply ingrained in our scientific culture and it will take a lot of evidence to kick it over."
According to The Guardian, the European spacecraft, named Rosetta, has also collected information regarding strange clusters of organic material that resemble viral particles on Comet 67P. However, neither Rosetta, which is orbiting 67P, nor Philae, which embarked on its journey to land on the speeding comet 10 years ago, are equipped to search for direct evidence of life.
The Guardian reported that Wickramasinghe said data coming from the comet seems to point to “microorganisms being involved in the formation of the icy structures, the preponderance of aromatic hydrocarbons, and the very dark surface.”
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“These are not easily explained in terms of prebiotic chemistry. The dark material is being constantly replenished as it is boiled off by heat from the sun. Something must be doing that at a fairly prolific rate.”
Not only do the astronomers think 67P could be a home for alien life, but Wickramasinghe and Wallis also believe other comets like it may be able to provide substantial environments for living microbes similar to the “extremophiles” that inhabit the most inhospitable regions of earth, The Guardian reported.
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