Scientists have discovered “unequivocal” proof of alien life on the comet carrying the Philae probe through space.
Experts say the only explanation for phenomena on the 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko comet, such as its organic-rich black crust, is the presence of living organisms beneath the icy surface.
Rosetta, the launch spacecraft still orbiting the comet is also said to have picked up strange “clusters” of what appears to be viral particles.
Neither vehicle is equipped to search for direct evidence of life after a proposal to include this in the mission was cut due to budget constraints.
Professor Chandra Wickramasinghe was involved in planning for the mission and said, “I wanted to include a very inexpensive life-detection experiment. At the time it was thought this was a bizarre proposition.”
Professor Wickramasinghe and his colleagues argue that comets could provide ideal homes for microorganisms similar to the “extremophiles” inhabiting some if the least hospitable regions of the Earth. These types of organisms may have helped sow the first seeds of life on Earth.
“What we’re saying is that data coming from the comet seems to unequivocally, in my opinion, point to micro-organisms being involved in the formation of the icy structures, the preponderance of aromatic hydrocarbons, and the very dark surface. These are not easily explained in terms of pre-biotic chemistry.
“The dark material is being constantly replenished as it is boiled off by heat from the Sun. Something must be doing that at a fairly prolific rate. They might be viral particles,” said Prof Wickramasinghe.
“The current estimate for the number of extra-solar planets in the galaxy is 140 billion plus. Planets that can harbor life are really quite abundant in the galaxy, and the next neighboring system to us is only spitting distance away. I think it’s inevitable that life is going to be a cosmic phenomenon.
“Five hundred years ago it was a struggle to have people accept that the Earth was not the center of the universe. After that revolution our thinking has remained Earth-centered in relation to life and biology.
“It’s deeply ingrained in our scientific culture and it will take a lot of evidence to kick it over.”