It’s been an exciting last few days in the universe. Well, taking into account the delay due to distance, at least. We’ve had exploding stars flipping inside out, an abundance of Earth-like planets, and SETI joining the ‘let’s make scientific discoveries into a video game’ race – all of which is pretty fascinating.
But here are a few recent articles worthy of note in both the field of extraterrestrial life and the search for planets that might host recognizable life or, maybe, future human colonies.
Ice + UV radiation + Warmth = Life?: According to a study funded by NASA’s Origins of the Solar Systems Program and the Astrobiology Institute, organic material is a lot less rare than previously supposed, and is potentially universal – literally. While a far cry from walking, talking aliens, the basic building blocks of life – amino acids, amphiphiles, and nucleobases – are pretty common in meteorites and comets. Maybe somewhere out there we have some long lost (really long lost) relatives, after all, with us all coming from irradiated ice particles.
Billions of Other Earths: Not only might the origins of life be far more common than expected, places for ‘life as we know it’ to settle could be pretty common, too. Through the HARPS spectrograph, scientists have found an abundance of super-Earths in habitable zones – well, found the probability of super-Earths in habitable zones, at least; they’ve found two for certain.
Water World: We have diamond planets. Rocky Planets and gaseous planets. Even ice planets. But astronomer Zachory Berta took a closer a closer look at the planet GJ1214b, a planet found by the Hubble telescope a couple of years ago, and proved that it is actually made predominantly from water. What’s weird is the high temperature (at 450 degrees Fahrenheit), as well as the high pressure, which lead to funky things like hot ice and superfluid water – it might not be home to the life we’re used to, or even any life at all, but it’s interesting – and, at 40 lightyears away, potentially within the realm of further exploration.
Our Optimal Earth: According to scientists at Purdue University, humans might have a better chance of exploring space than our potential extraterrestrial equals on observable super-Earths. This might just be because we can only observe super-Earths quickly and/or closely circling their stars, which is the main disadvantageous factor in their inability to prospectively take-off, but we don’t know for sure. At the very least, it’s another possible response to the Fermi Paradox.
Have you heard any other exciting alien or space news? Leave a comment about it, and we'll see how it changes surviving alien invasion novels!
Rachel is the co-founder of How To Survive Alien Invasion Novels, and spends her time writing, studying, and reading what would probably considered far too many books. Connect with her and Rusty on Twitter and Facebook, and click here to read more of her articles about alien theories and how to survive alien invasion novels.