Leading astronauts say that spacecraft Philae may have landed on a comet that hosts alien life forms. It may just be microbial life, but if it’s confirmed to be real, it will no doubt end up being one of the biggest discoveries in human history.
The comet itself is knows as “67P / Churyumov-Gerasimenko”, has the shape of a rubber duck, is roughly four (4) kilometers long, and experts say that the most likely explanation for its distinct features – it has a black crust rich in hydrocarbon – is that the space rock is hiding some kind of alien microbes beneath its icy surface.
The strongest feature associated with said black crust is that something keeps replenishing it as it gets boiled off by the Sun.
The exciting suspicion is also shared by Rosetta, the European spacecraft which has been orbiting the comet for a while now. The flying machine has reported picking up on clusters of strange, organic material that seems to resemble viral particles.
The problem is that neither Rosetta, nor Philae are equipped with the proper tools to look for direct proof of life. Space scientists have suggested when preparing for the mission that such tools could probe to be useful, however the request was allegedly laughed at and thrown out of court.
Chandra Wickramasinghe, an astronomer and astrobiologist who was involved in the mission planning, which took place 15 years ago, gave a statement sharing that “I wanted to include a very inexpensive life-detection experiment. At the time it was thought this was a bizarre proposition”. The potential discovery of alien life forms was never an issue he himself had never considered.
He went on to add that the rfusal he was met with is simply human nature and that mentalities take a lot of time to change. The expert explained that five-hundred (500) it was very hard to get people to accept that our planet was not sitting at the center of the universe.
Even after scientific proof showed that this is not the case, most people still have a thinking style that is very much Earth-centered, especially when talking about concepts such as “life” and “biology”. It has been strongly imprinted on our scientific culture and space scientists are going to need a great deal of evidence in order to convince people to let go of it.
Wickramasinghe is not alone in his belief as Max Wallis, a colleague who works at the University of Cardiff, also strongly feels that not only 67P / Churyumov-Gerasimenko, but many other comets similar to it, all could be hosting living microbes related to the extremophiles which can be found in some of the most inhospitable areas of our planet.
Wickramasinghe and Wallis have a working theory that these comets may have been the ones to bring the first specs of primitive life on planet Earth, as well as on Mars, long before this was ever an option for our planet.
The duo has put together computer simulations that support the idea of microbes living inside patches of water on the comet, and has already presented its case to the National Astronomy Meeting of the Royal Astronomical Society, in Wales.
Philae detached from Rosetta last year, in November, and made history by landing on to the surface of 67P / Churyumov-Gerasimenko. There was a delay in exploration as the lander has solar panels and initially had to go into hibernation due to a lack of sunlight. It eventually woke up when the comet started to get closer to the Sun.
Image Source: bbci.co.uk