Some of the topmost scientific researchers have seriously surmised that the Philae Comet could actually harbor alien life forms.
The comet which was alighted upon by the spacecraft Philae might well be the home of many an alien microbe. At least that is what the leading astronomers have to say about the whole issue.
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The comet which has been termed 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko has a very fertile dark surface beneath the icy exterior of which lie bacteria and viruses. Rosetta, the observer aircraft that has been photographing the whole thing from afar has picked up clusters of viruses on the surface of the comet.
As for the ESA, it managed to make the impossible possible when it successfully landed an aircraft on the surface of the comet in November of last year. The landing mission then entered a sort of long aestivation from which it only emerged recently after recharging its solar cells.
Philae and Rosetta are not equipped with the necessary instruments to pick up any signs of alien life. The whole proposal was pooh-poohed when it was brought before the committee. However, a few still believe that we ought to keep our minds open since that was what science was all about.
The sheer possibility of alien life forms out there no matter how small was still a likely hypothesis. Just half a millennium ago people believed that the sun moved around the earth. Before that they even believed that the earth was flat.
It took gut-wrenching revolutions in thought to bring the ordinary folks out of their inertia in matters of belief. But today we face the same situation with regard to alien life forms. Scientists have hypothesized that extremophiles could exist on such comets as the Philae Comet. Such organisms reside in the most extreme conditions of heat and cold on the planet earth.
The frozen depths of the comet could harbor the extremophiles. These organisms have anti-freeze elements inside them which could allow them to survive the coldest conditions where any other creature would die a sudden and nasty death.
Especially the organic refuse on the comet could serve as an ideal breeding ground for life. Somehow, microbes seem to have played a pivotal role in the formation of icy ledges on the comet.
And as the icy material is constantly being evaporated at a fast rate by the hot rays from the sun, the turnover is high. Life might be present there or it might not exist. That is the question and the astronomers and astrophysicists are looking into the matter with great interest.
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These findings will be presented today at the Royal Astronomical Society's National Astronomy Meeting in Llandudno, Wales.