Astronomers Believe Philae's Comet 67P is Home to Alien Life

Monday, 06 July 2015 - 11:32AM
Astrobiology
Alien Life
ESA
Monday, 06 July 2015 - 11:32AM
Astronomers Believe Philae's Comet 67P is Home to Alien Life
This could be the moment humanity has been waiting for. Two leading astronomers revealed today that they believe Comet 67P, which is currently home to the Philae lander, may possess alien lifeforms.

According to astrobiologist Chandra Wickramasinghe, who was involved in planning the Rosetta mission over a decade ago, the data obtained by the Philae landing probe "unequivocally" points to the existence of microbial life on the surface of Comet 67P. The comet has a black hydrocarbon crust that sits upon craters containing lakes of icy water, which is overlain with organic material, and apparently this is just what astrobiologists like Wickramasinghe were hoping to find.

Opening quote
"What we're saying is that data coming from the comet seems to unequivocally, in my opinion, point to micro-organisms being involved in the formation of the icy structures, the preponderance of aromatic hydrocarbons, and the very dark surface."
Closing quote


He also went on to say that the evidence "[is] not easily explained in terms of pre-biotic chemistry" and that "the dark material is being constantly replenished as it is boiled off by heat from the Sun," meaning there must be some logical mechanism causing such rapid replenishment - such as microbial life. Add to this the fact that the Rosetta spacecraft (which is currently in orbit of the comet) has detected material from the gases surrounding the comet that look a whole lot like viral particles, and you can see why astronomers and astrobiologists are so excited about the discovery.

If this theory is proven true, we could be on the verge of even greater extra-terrestrial discoveries. Wickramasinghe and her colleague, Dr. Max Wallis, have said that if there really is microbial life on the comet, they would probably be similar to some of Earth's extremophiles that inhabit the waters of the Arctic and Antarctic. This could possibly mean that other worlds known for their icy seas, Jupiter's moon, Europa, just became even likelier candidates for alien life. While the evidence certainly looks convincing, there's still a bit of work left to do in order to confirm that we have finally gained concrete proof of alien life. Similar claims have been made before only to be let down or come to find that the data was inconclusive.

It's also worth pointing out that Wickramasinghe's thoughts do not always align with the wider scientific community. In the past, Wickramasinghe has claimed that the SARS virus was brought to Earth from outer space, and that the red rains of Kerala were caused by alien lifeforms.

Wickramasinghe and his partner, Max Wallis of the University of Cardiff will present their findings at the Royal Astronomical Society's annual meeting in Wales this week. When they do, it will be interesting to see how their fellow astronomers respond to these exciting views.
Science
Space
Astrobiology
Alien Life
ESA
Astronomers Believe Philae's Comet 67P is Home to Alien Life

Load Comments