Our Odds of Finding Alien Life Just Skyrocketed Thanks to This Fossil Discovery

Wednesday, 20 December 2017 - 9:54AM
Earth
Alien Life
Wednesday, 20 December 2017 - 9:54AM
Our Odds of Finding Alien Life Just Skyrocketed Thanks to This Fossil Discovery
Image credit: Pixabay
Scientists concluded years of research on ancient fossils to prove that life on Earth started over 3.5 billion years ago, which dramatically improves our odds of finding alien life on other planets, scientists say.

Microscopic organisms found in the fossil, each one several times smaller than a human hair, not only greatly alters our understanding of when life first emerged on our planet-it may be the key to understanding life on other planets, too.

"This tells us life had to have begun substantially earlier and it confirms that it was not difficult for primitive life to form," said lead author and UCLA paleobiology professor J. William Schopf in a statement. "But, if the conditions are right, it looks like life in the universe should be widespread."

These organisms are primitive photosynthesizers, thought to live in an environment where there is light but no oxygen like the surface of Mars. The organisms also contained methane, an intriguing fact when considering that Saturn's moon, Titan, is likely covered in seas of liquid methane, too.

The dating of these organisms at 3.5 billion years old suggests they lived only a few hundred million years after the period of "late bombardment," when Earth was struck with large asteroids and other rubble from space. This means that the organisms found on those fossils survived some pretty tough living conditions.

Asked about what this means for the possibility of alien life, Schopf was uncertain but optimistic. "[This study] confirms it is not difficult for primitive life to form and to evolve into more advanced microorganisms," he said.

With the past week's tremendous news edging us ever closer to discovering alien life, this news takes on a new light.

Aside from two bombshell reports by the New York Times that managed to find a mainstream audience, UFO Sightings creator Scott C Waring accused NASA of not being honest about their findings on the Voyager 1, a meteorite in Scotland was determined to likely possess minerals of an alien nature, and NASA is investigating alien life on Ceres with its closest-ever mission using the Dawn spacecraft. Far be it from us to suggest a pattern.

This week, scientists also announced that they finally have instruments capable of exploring the uncharted chasms of our neighboring Alpha Centauri star system, meaning we can explore our most promising lead for proof of life. Last year, a new exoplanet was found in the same star system that supported water in its liquid form.

 

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Our Odds of Finding Alien Life Just Skyrocketed Thanks to This Fossil Discovery
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