British physicist Brian Cox claims there could be alien life beneath the frozen crust of Pluto
NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft recently performed a flyby of Pluto and sent images suggesting the possibility of subterranean seas warm enough to support microbial growth unlike planet Earth.
Over the years, science fiction movies and novels have captivated humans to an extent that some of them actually believe in the existence of extra terrestrial life or alien life.
Though it is a fact that in reality space researchers have not yet discovered any such evidence to prove there is any ‘real life’ outside our planet, Earth; however a British physicist recently claimed there could be a possibility of alien life beneath the frozen crust of Pluto.
It was in July this year when NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft performed a flyby of Pluto after completing a 3 billion journey across the Solar system. The probe was able to reach within 7,800 miles (12,500 km) of Pluto’s surface and thus captured some spectacular images of this dwarf planet hinting the presence of massive glaciers on Pluto’s surface.
British physicist and particle physics professor, Brian Cox claims that the presence of glaciers could possibly an indication of some subterranean sea that could be favorable for growth of alien life such as microbial organisms which could be different than those thriving on Earth.
While speaking to ‘The Times’, Cox said: “The New Horizons probe showed you that there may well be a subsurface ocean on Pluto, which means – if our understanding of life on Earth is even slightly correct – that you could have living things there.”
New Horizons spacecraft not only succeeded in capturing the images of Pluto and its moons namely Charon, Styx, Nix, Kerberos and Hydra but it also sent essential data of the dwarf planet and its satellites that helped the scientists on Earth to have closer view of this far off and eluded planet.
It seems that for the next few weeks the New Horizons spacecraft will continue its Pluto mission and survey the planet. Already the probe has sent images which shows presence of craters and deep scars on the surface of Pluto along with enormous mountain ranges and massive plains which is covered in ice.
Leading investigator of New Horizons Pluto mission, Alan Stern, says that it could be possible that these mountains are all made of ‘water ice’.
As of now, the research team was able to check only five percent of the data that was received from New Horizons and still 95 percent data remains to be observed indicating we would be having some more interesting information coming our way in the coming weeks.
However, researchers believe that the information received from New Horizons is not enough to confirm the existence of warm water beneath the frozen crust of the dwarf planet.
Scientists will have to study the similar planets which are closer to Earth before they can draw some conclusions about Pluto and its moons.
Pluto is located quite far away from Earth, Cox says it is much easier for human scientists to get the details of other planets and their satellites such as that of Jupiter and Saturn because in comparison they are much closer to Earth.
Cox said: “It’s not as accessible, unfortunately, as Europa (a satellite of Jupiter) or some of Saturn’s moons. Titan looks as though it’s got a subsurface ocean now, and Enceladus throws liquid into space, so you can fly through that and see if it’s got organics in it.”
Cox also warned public not to get too excited regarding the possibility of finding an alien in our galaxy because he believes that as of now science is indicating us that “complex life is probably rare”.
He also added: “The biological “bottlenecks” on the way to multi cellular organisms are so difficult to squeeze through that only a tiny fraction of the planets where life emerges will be home to anything more than the simplest biology.”
Thus Cox concluded that probably “humans are the only complex life existing in our galaxy” as of now, which also in a way indicates that we (humans) might be physically insignificant compared to the entire Universe; however we are probably very much valuable.