NASA: Alien Life Could Exist In Our Solar System

"we will get the real dream of dreams.”

17/03/2016 09:27

The search of alien life could prove fruitful with the next mission to Europa, a NASA scientist has said.

Dr Kevin Hand, an astrobiologist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said Jupiter's moon could hold the answers we've all been waiting for.

Speaking at an event at the Royal Institution, the scientist outlined how our understanding of Earth's oceans translated to other potentially habitable worlds like Europa.

Stocktrek via Getty Images
Jupiter's icy moon Europa

 According to the Express, he said: " We may be able to discover if there are signs of organic or possible life on Europa.

"Images show there could be possible life on Europa."

The icy moon of Jupiter is thought to be one of the most promising places, within our solar system, to look for life.

While these extra terrestrial projections may seem bold, they are based on evidence found on Earth.

Scientists have found life thriving even in the deepest part of our oceans, Marianas Trench.

A 2005 mission found micro-organisms thriving despite the lack of light and food.

"These organisms utilise chemicals and energy at the bottom of the ocean, and this is what we think could be happening on Europa," Dr Hand said.

“This is powered without sunlight under incredible pressure and in incredible darkness and we found that in arguably the most extreme environments life is not only living, it is a thriving ecosystem.

“This kind of environment is what we think may be similar to that on Europa.

“My team is studying microbes as we think they may be the same sort of microbes which might be found on Europa.”

 In October 2015, Dr Hand and his team published research suggesting that the icy moon's "chaos terrain" could be a good starting point in the hunt for alien life.

Professor of planetary astronomy, Mike Brown, who worked on the paper, which was published in The Astronomical Journal, stated at the time

"We have known for a long time that Europa's fresh icy surface, which is covered with cracks and ridges and transform faults, is the external signature of a vast internal salty ocean."

The so-called chaos terrain are areas where the ice plates have broken apart and refrozen.

These region may also contain water that has risen up from the ocean below, leaving deposits that can be investigated. 

“The question of whether life exists beyond Earth is one of humanity’s most profound and unanswered questions," Dr Hand said.

“Just about anywhere we go upon Earth and find liquid water we find life, we know now of oceans beyond Earth - and these are oceans of liquid water.

“Our study of life on Earth leads us to conclude some of these worlds are inhabitable and even inhabited.

“The next mission [to Europa] maybe in the 2020s, and hopefully then we will get the real dream of dreams.”


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