Alien Life May Not Be As Wide Spread As First Thought
New research from NASA scientists suggests that alien life may not be as numerous as we had previously imagined. With so many stars and planets in our Milky Way Galaxy alone, it was thought that statistically, we could not be alone. However, new variables have been taken into consideration in regards to the search for extraterrestrial life. These new conditions drastically reduce the likelihood of sustainable life on alien planets.
Researchers had previously imagined that if a planet orbited within the habitable zone (HZ), otherwise known as the goldie locks zone, then life on that planet would be extremely likely. However, new research led by Edward Schwieterman – a NASA astrobiologist – suggests that far few planets in the HZ may exhibit alien life.
The research indicates that planets within the HZ can develop simple life like single-celled organisms. But, for more complex life, a planet must have much more to it than just orbiting within the HZ.
When extra circumstances are considered – in order to develop complex life – the number of planets with developed alien life decreases substantially. As an example, planets with high gas toxicity would be excluded.
The majority of planets discovered in HZs actually have high levels of toxic gases in the atmosphere.
Computer models were used to create a basis for evaluation. The research team used the atmospheric climate and photochemistry from a range of planets within habitable zones. Initial research began by predicting the carbon dioxide levels. High levels are toxic, but it is needed to ensure the planet does not freeze.
As you can see from the graphic below, once carbon levels are factored in, the chances of alien life diminish.
As you can see from the graphic above, only four planets (GJ 581d, GJ 667Cc, Kepler 442b, and Earth) actually have the right conditions for developing more complex life. These are shown by being in the blue sector of the graphic. Other planets are not so lucky. They contain high levels of carbon dioxide (yellow) and carbon monoxide (red) build up.
The new research demonstrates that the development of life is a lot more complex than originally believed.
With these new conditions, stars such as Proxima Centauri and TRAPPIST-1 – two of the Sun’s closest neighbors – do not have an HZ. The high levels of carbon monoxide indicate the chances of complex alien life evolving are extremely slim.
The Search For Extraterrestrial Life
These new guidelines can help us in the search for extraterrestrial life (SETI). Recent astrological studies have confirmed almost 4,000 planets that orbit stars in our galaxy. This recent study can help us trim the number of planets we believe to exhibit alien life. This, in turn, would allow us to discover if aliens are real or not in a much shorter time frame.
Co-researcher of the study Christopher Reinhard said: “Our discoveries provide one way to decide which of these myriad planets we should observe in more detail,”
Studies like this allow us to focus our efforts. Humans have always wanted to know “are aliens real?” Are we alone in the universe? Hopefully, we can now make strides to finally answering these questions.
Are Aliens Real
Are aliens real? Is complex alien life looking back at us? A question that has been asked time and time again. Some people say yes. Others say no. And some, are still undecided.
The alien discussion has continued for many, many years. Unfortunately, we are still without a definite answer to such questions.
We would love to know what you think. So, please feel free to leave your thoughts in a comment below.