The hunt for alien life will continue until contact is made but there is a game changer. The variables required for a planet to contain sustainable life now emphatically includes a planet with an ocean, reports Discover News today.
Let’s take a look at what scientists consider key elements for a planet to meet the criteria for life forms. Researchers in Astrobiology at the University of East Anglia (UEA) in Norwich, England have concluded that, to make a planet inhabitable the planet must have a large ocean.
Prior to concluding this essential as a variable the university’s math school had other criteria. David Stevens from the school explained that if a planet is too close or too far from the sun then the planet was not in a habitable zone. Now the computer models must include an ocean.
Stevens points out that liquid water is vital for the evolution of life as we know it. Mars is too cold and a dry wasteland while Venus is hot and searing in its temperatures. At one time Mars may have had an ocean which is part of the excitement to exploring Mars.
The model which Stevens and the Astrobiology department must now build in their computer model will have oceans as a variable in the equation.
“Oceans help to make a planet’s climate more stable so factoring them into climate models is vital for knowing whether the planet could develop and sustain life,” added Stevens. “This new model will help us to understand what the climates of other planets might be like with more accurate detail than ever before.”
The new model will look for exoplanets which are planets that orbit a star in a solar system other than that of Earth. This would call for rocky exoplanets with global oceans. The opportunity would bring knowledge of worlds not previously thought to exist with life form.
Last week NASA held a meeting in Washington D.C. with scientists to discuss the launch of the Transiting Exoplanet Surveying Satellite planned in three years. A focus on exploration intrigues scientists that Jupiter’s moon, Europa may contain an ocean. Europa is an icy moon slightly smaller than the Earth’s moon. Water exiting from cracks has been discovered.
If Europa has an ocean beneath its frozen cover then scientists are interested in what opportunities await them. NASA plans a space mission to it in the early 2020’s. NASA believes that alien life form will be found within twenty years. We are not alone and NASA is working to find the proof and contact with alien life. ET is out there.