Pluto Might House Alien Life

Pluto Might House Alien Life

UK Physicist Brian Cox suspects Pluto's abundance of water might be a strong indicator for alien life.

It wasn't so long ago that Pluto was being written off as just another space body, not a full-blown planet. But our interest immediately returned once New Horizons got close enough to capture some fantastic photos. Among these images was evidence of flowing ice and hints of underground bodies of water. According to UK physicist Brian Cox, that means Pluto might not just be an empty rock - it could be a home for alien life.

"[The New Horizons probe] showed you that there may well be a subsurface ocean on Pluto," Cox explained. "Which means - if our understanding of life on Earth is even slightly correct - that you could have living things there."

Cox isn't the only one to note Pluto's prominent water supply: Principal investigator Alan Stern added that Pluto has entire mountains made of the stuff. "The bedrock that makes those mountains must be made of H2O, water ice," Stern said. "We see water ice on Pluto for the first time. We can be very sure that the water is there in great abundance."

The bad news is that proving life exists on Pluto is incredibly difficult. The New Horizons satellite alone took nine years to get within 8000 miles, and we're not about to send a manned team there anytime soon. A safer bet is to compare similar bodies closer to Earth. NASA is already planing a mission to Jupiter's moon Europa, which should be much easier to get achieve.

That being said, we shouldn't assume that complex life exists on Pluto - even Cox acknowledges any life forms are probably just single-celled organisms. Then again, scientists did dub one territory "Cthulhu Regio", so maybe they know something we don't.

Source: The Times, via Daily Mail

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*Might* is the operative word here. But I think it's super interesting how many bodies in our solar system are actually thought to have massive amounts of water right now. A few years back everyone was wondering whether there could be water on any other celestial bodies.

But now we've basically found tons more water out there than there is on our own Earth.

You really are trying to tempt a Rick n Morty reference from me, aren't you? Well I refuse to play your cruel game! Not until I get a piece of smoked salmon.

"Pluto is a Planet" - Jerry

Cool.

Though, I thought any water on Pluto would be ice. It's incredibly far from the Sun. It would hardly look any different from other stars on Pluto. Which would make me think that the dwarf planet would be cold. Unless, Pluto has a very hot and active core that heats up the planet (would that work?).

Still, really cool to learn new stuff about Pluto. I wonder if there are other life forms in our Solar System. I doubt it would be anything more advanced than a fish (and more likely no more advanced than bacteria), but that would still be interesting. And instantly leads me to wondering what Plutoian fish would taste like...

Xsjadoblayde:
You really are trying to tempt a Rick n Morty reference from me, aren't you? Well I refuse to play your cruel game! Not until I get a piece of smoked salmon.

*Obligatory reference to HP Lovecraft concerning Yuggoth*

This is incredible. You see what a close-up look at anything will do to a theory. I love technology.

Man Pluto is just trying so hard to stay relevant.

Saltyk:

This meat...somebody has touched it? I smell a waff of competition...

Ehh, it is no matter. Plutonians unite, we have a feast upon us!

Dango:
Man Pluto is just trying so hard to stay relevant.

Trying hard or hardly trying? I SMELL COVER-UP!! They didn't want us to know!

Xsjadoblayde:

Ehh, it is no matter. Plutonians unite, we have a feast upon us!

If I stuff a Plutonian into a missle and fire it off, will it make a nuclear explosion?

I hoped I was first person to speculate on Mi-go, as much as I remember of them since I read the Lovecraft collections few years ago. Some scientists may just find themselves on entirely different world soon...

So when we got to Pluto, we can make slushies?

FalloutJack:

If I stuff a Plutonian into a missle and fire it off, will it make a nuclear explosion?

No, but if you stick one in a Delorean, you can travel through time.

Brian Cox...Brian Cox.....Brian Cox...Oh Brian Cox, Brian Cox, Brian Cox. While I admire what he has achieved, he isn't the brightest bulb in the box. He's more of a celebrity than he is an actual scientist.

We're gonna have to explain how life can form when Pluto has no atmosphere (most of the time)...Not even to mention how cells could've overcome the crystallisation phase without dying.

I'm more likely to believe life on Jupiter or Venus tbh.

If Pluto is a dwarf planet, then surly any lifeform on it must be, by definition, dwarven.

Wonder how those life forms will feel once they find out a bunch of scientists decided to downgrade their home from a planet to a planetoid. *snerks*

Saltyk:
Cool.

Though, I thought any water on Pluto would be ice. It's incredibly far from the Sun. It would hardly look any different from other stars on Pluto. Which would make me think that the dwarf planet would be cold. Unless, Pluto has a very hot and active core that heats up the planet (would that work?).

Still, really cool to learn new stuff about Pluto. I wonder if there are other life forms in our Solar System. I doubt it would be anything more advanced than a fish (and more likely no more advanced than bacteria), but that would still be interesting. And instantly leads me to wondering what Plutoian fish would taste like...

The key part of this is that it's a sub-surface ocean. Any liquids on Pluto's surface would be frozen solid, and if they weren't, the lack of an atmosphere would cause them to vaporize off into space.

With an ocean buried beneath the surface, it's protected from the vacuum of space, so that's one less issue. This also potentially puts it close to geologic activity. It's entirely possible that internal geothermic events on Pluto could create liquid oceans inside of its crust. The environment would likely be similar to deep sea geothermic vents in Earth's oceans, which are some of the places early Earth life may have actually begun around.

Europa, Titan, Enceladus and probably a few other objects I'm forgetting are all prime candidates for a similar sort of situation. Hell, Mars *used* to have liquid water on its surface eons ago. If some of it managed to survive under the surface in underground oceans, cave systems or aquafirs, there could potentially be life there as well.

As for the complexity of it, now that's the million dollar question. Keep in mind, all of the planets, moons and dwarf planets in the solar system formed around the same time. Europa, Titan, Pluto and the rest have had exactly the same amount of time for life to develop as Earth has. I really don't think it's too much of a stretch to say that there's a decent chance that complex life could exist in those sub-surface oceans. Some sort of extremophile microbes are probably almost a given.

If there is life, then it's not as we know it.

mad825:
While I admire what he has achieved, he isn't the brightest bulb in the box. He's more of a celebrity than he is an actual scientist.

No, not at all. He's a PhD and professor in high energy physics, and is still working at CERN on the ATLAS experiment in the LHC, among other things. Here's a list of his publications. That is not the bibliography of a stupid celebrity non-scientist.

That said, obviously particle physics is not especially relevant when it comes to questions about biology and astrophysics, so there's no point in taking comments like this any more seriously than when Stephen Hawking starts spouting off about aliens and AI. Just because someone is famous doesn't mean they're not clever, it just means that vague ramblings which shouldn't be taken seriously get far too much media attention.

The Migo are waiting. You just have to give up that horrid body.

Kahani:

mad825:
While I admire what he has achieved, he isn't the brightest bulb in the box. He's more of a celebrity than he is an actual scientist.

No, not at all. He's a PhD and professor in high energy physics, and is still working at CERN on the ATLAS experiment in the LHC, among other things. Here's a list of his publications. That is not the bibliography of a stupid celebrity non-scientist.

That said, obviously particle physics is not especially relevant when it comes to questions about biology and astrophysics, so there's no point in taking comments like this any more seriously than when Stephen Hawking starts spouting off about aliens and AI. Just because someone is famous doesn't mean they're not clever, it just means that vague ramblings which shouldn't be taken seriously get far too much media attention.

No need to educate me lad.

Stepping outside your field for the sake of media attention makes him supremely idiotic or very narcissistic. Quite frankly, I would rather hear him once in a blue moon instead of every single topic that needs answering or in the simple case of "Who would've thunk?".

Simply him saying "there may be life on pluto because of water". You know, water, the element water along with Iron, nickel and so forth to common throughout space he needs to STFU and do something.

rcs619:

The key part of this is that it's a sub-surface ocean. Any liquids on Pluto's surface would be frozen solid, and if they weren't, the lack of an atmosphere would cause them to vaporize off into space.

Oh, yes, yes. All things considering that the surface temperature is near absolute zero, the surface of Pluto periodically melts and gets re-frozen and you know, it being cold too cold for proteins to form.

The facts life is that we all and every thing began in a nice hot soup. Not in a snazzy gazpacho.

Mike Fang:
Wonder how those life forms will feel once they find out a bunch of scientists decided to downgrade their home from a planet to a planetoid. *snerks*

Probably downgrade earth to a meteor. Or redub it "smelly monkey rock."

My question is what we're supposed to do when we abduct some random animal for probing, and then discover its intelligent life?

CrimsonBlack:
If Pluto is a dwarf planet, then surly any lifeform on it must be, by definition, dwarven.

If that the case, then how many axes do they have?

OT: Well, since Pluto's not a "planet", then that should defunk any reason as to why they're could be any form of life on it... unless it is a "planet"... Right?

Fox12:
[
Probably downgrade earth to a meteor. Or redub it "smelly monkey rock."

My question is what we're supposed to do when we abduct some random animal for probing, and then discover its intelligent life?

Same thing as the little gray men do; drop 'em back off and hope it doesn't go further than trashy supermarket tabloids.

mad825:
No need to educate me lad.

Apparently there is.

Stepping outside your field for the sake of media attention makes him supremely idiotic or very narcissistic.

No it doesn't. There you go, consider yourself educated.

he needs to STFU and do something.

He has done, and continues to do, far more than you ever have or ever will. Just because someone appears on TV from time to time doesn't make all their other work magically disappear.

 

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