Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Is There Alien Life Beneath The Crusty Surface Of Pluto?

Pluto could be home to ocean-dwelling life forms, claims Professor Brian Cox

Celebrated stargazer says the dwarf planet's icy crust could be hiding huge bodies of water warm enough to sustain life

When the New Horizons probe sped past Pluto last month, it gave scientists and the public an unprecedentedly detailed glimpse at its frozen surface.
But one question remains unsolved: is there an ocean beneath the dwarf planet's icy crust?
Professor Brian Cox certainly hopes so, because he believes that if we can identify a hidden sea, we may find alien life forms lurking within its warm waters.
In an interview with The Times, the much-loved astronomer suggested Plutohas many more mysteries which are yet to be revealed.
He said: "The New Horizons probe showed you there 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."
Following its incredible Pluto flyby, the New Horizons spacecraft is now heading for a rendezvous with another dwarf planet called called 2014 MU69 - a journey of one and a half billion miles.
Meanwhile, back on Earth, NASA scientists are only just beginning to pick through the information the plucky probe beamed back.
We know the surface of Pluto is very young, which could indicate high levels of geological activity, whilst its also boasts a series of strange nitrogen glaciers.
NASA suggested an underground ocean could be driving all the activity on its surface.

This iconic image of Pulto was published July 2015
However, Cox doesn't think we'll be able to find out if Pluto holds life just yet.
"It's not as accessible, unfortunately, as Europa [a moon of Jupiter] or some of Saturn's moons," he added. "Titan looks like its 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."
Sadly, the superstar stargazer doesn't think we'll encounter little green men any time soon, because life has to pass through several tight "bottlenecks" which mean its extremely unlikely intelligent life is common in the universe.
"Science tells us that complex life is probably rare.
"We're physically insignificant, but probably very valuable."

Could oceans be hidden under Plutos icy crusty surface?
Professor Cox is no stranger to putting forward controversial opinions, having recently slammed people who claimed the moon landings were faked.
The former popstar said anyone who thought the moon landings were a hoax should "get a new brain" and labelled them "nobheads [sic]".
Let's hope his scientific predictions are better than his spelling.
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