It’s not something new that people have always been fascinated by the idea that some alien life could possibly exist somewhere out there, in a distant corner of the universe. But does it really have to be so distant? What if extraterrestrial life awaits to be discovered much closer to our planet? Are there any chances for this to actually be a possibility?
What should we look for?
Because water is the foundation of life on our planet, this is the first thing that astrobiologists are searching for when trying to discover habitats that could be fit for sustaining life. Another thing that has a great importance is the way a certain type of energy could enter a system for metabolic processes. In Earth’s case, this energy is provided by the Sun. Nevertheless, recent findings made scientists search for geothermal energy as well. Other factors that should be considered are the temperature, climate, pressure of a specific cosmic body.
Where should we look for life?
Our close neighbor, Mars has definitely been the number one attraction for those who wanted to write some captivating science fiction. There are certain dark and narrow streaks that have been found on the landscape of the Red Planet, which scientists believe they could have been caused by flowing water. Exactly how could have water existed in such a dry place like Mars that doesn’t have atmosphere is still a mystery for everyone.
Another celestial object that we could have in our radar for extraterrestrial life could be Ceres, which is a dwarf planet and the largest object in the asteroid belt, between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. The reason why this would be a good candidate is that some organic material was detected on its surface by NASA’s Dawn mission last year. Based on recent studying of the data, it seems that between 40 to 50 percent of the spectral signature could be covered by this organic material.
Extending our possibilities
Let’s also remember that a new bacterium that can survive only on carbon monoxide, hydrogen and carbon dioxide has been recently discovered in Antarctica. The more scientists understand life on Earth, the easier it will be for them to search for life in places of the universe they might not have thought about before. It remains to be seen what new discoveries the future will bring.
Jasmine holds a Master’s in Journalism from Ryerson University in Toronto and writes professionally in a broad variety of genres. She has worked as a senior manager in public relations and communications for major telecommunication companies, and is the former Deputy Director for Media Relations with the Modern Coalition. Jasmine writes primarily in our LGBTTQQIAAP and Science section.