Science/Tech

Aliens May Have Better Life On Exoplanets Than Humans On Earth, Study Says

Astronomers around the world will continue to look for aliens across the universe. It has been proposed that other forms of life may be more advanced than humans, and a new study provides information on how organisms beyond the solar system are potentially thriving. 

The research, presented at the recent Goldschmidt Geochemistry Congress in Barcelona, suggested that there could be planets that provide better environments than what Earth offers. These potentially habitable worlds contain more water and abundant life. 

"Life in Earth's oceans depends on upwelling (upward flow) which returns nutrients from the dark depths of the ocean to the sunlit portions of the ocean where photosynthetic life lives," Stephanie Olson, a geophysicist from the University of Chicago, said in a statement. "More upwelling means more nutrient resupply, which means more biological activity. These are the conditions we need to look for on exoplanets."

For their study, Olson and her team used NASA’s software ROCKE-3D to create computer models, which allowed them to explore how different types of exoplanets can support life. The modelled planets that could host more life appeared with thicker atmospheres, slower rotation and more continents.

"This is a surprising conclusion," Olson said. "It shows us that conditions on some exoplanets with favourable ocean circulation patterns could be better suited to support life that is more abundant or more active than life on Earth."

That means future efforts to look for exoplanets should focus on presence of water. It has been proven that there are other planets orbiting within the Milky Way with either ancient or existing oceans. 

In our solar system, astronomers previously found traces of ancient water on Mars. Both Jupiter and Saturn also have moons with liquid oceans.

In 2018, astronomers reported that 35 percent of all discovered exoplanets that are bigger than Earth may contain more water than our planet, ScienceAlert reported. The new study is expected to guide future efforts to detect potentially habitable planets. 

Olson said scientists should look for planets with signs of globally active biospheres. She added such worlds could be the best places “where life will be easiest to detect.”

TRAPPIST-1 This artist's concept shows what the TRAPPIST-1 planetary system may look like, based on available data about the planets' diameters, masses and distances from the host star, as of February 2018. 3 of the 7 exoplanets are in the 'habitable zone', where liquid water is possible. NASA/JPL-Caltech

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