Scientists from Scotland have suggested that alien life could well be flourishing on any number of planets, though perhaps not in the form we’d expect or where we’d expect it. A new study carried out at the University of Aberdeen produced data to back the theory that living organisms could be present and perhaps even abundant deep below the surface of other planets.
By using a computer model, the team of researchers came up with a blueprint as to what planetary conditions would be needed in order for the world to harbor underground life. Their aim was to look beyond the theory whereby any planet too close or too far away from its closest star would be ‘unable’ to support life due to extremes of temperature.
“That theory fails to take into account life that can exist beneath a planet’s surface. As you get deeper below a planet’s surface, the temperature increases, and once you get down to a temperature where liquid water can exist – life can exist there too,” said Sean McMahon, one of the researchers from the University.
“The deepest known life on Earth is 5.3km below the surface, but there may well be life even 10km deep in places on Earth that haven’t yet been drilled. Using our computer model, we discovered that the habitable zone for an Earth-like planet orbiting a sun-like star is about three times bigger if we include the top five kilometers below the planet surface,”
“The model shows that liquid water, and as such life, could survive 5km below the Earth’s surface even if the Earth was three times further away from the sun than it is just now.”