• Question: is there any living creatures on a different planet

    Asked by cameron2 on 3 Jun 2019. This question was also asked by op.mxlz.
    • Photo: Shobhana Nagraj

      Shobhana Nagraj answered on 3 Jun 2019:

      This is a great question! This isn’t my area of expertise but I am really interested in this! At the moment, as far as I know, Earth is the only planet known to support life, however the New Horizons team at NASA are trying to find Habitable Worlds and exploring “Exoplanets” (planets beyond our solar system that orbit a star). You can read more about their work here: https://exoplanets.nasa.gov/the-search-for-life/habitable-zones/
      They also recently wrote this piece on the subject: https://exoplanets.nasa.gov/news/1575/looking-for-life-friendly-climates-on-other-worlds/ The answer is there might be living creatures elsewhere, but we haven’t found them yet! Hope that helps answer your question!

    • Photo: Nina Rzechorzek

      Nina Rzechorzek answered on 3 Jun 2019:

      Such an exciting question! No one knows yet, but I would be amazed if there wasn’t. Shobhana’s provided some good links covering what scientists are trying to do to answer this question. Perhaps a related question to think about: what do we define as ‘living’ and why should that definition be the same across the universe?….

    • Photo: Rebecca Moon

      Rebecca Moon answered on 3 Jun 2019:

      Wow what an interesting question, and I’m going to be honest and say I’ve no idea. Looks from above like Shobhana is our resident expert on this topic. I certainly hope that in our lifetime they find something living elsewhere – it wasnt that long ago that travelling to other countries on our own planet wasn’t as easy as it is now, so wouldn’t it be exciting if we could go and visit other “cultures” on other planets?! Imagine what sort of science we could learn together!

    • Photo: Kate Timms

      Kate Timms answered on 3 Jun 2019:

      We haven’t found any yet, but I think we probably will one day. If we do, it may look very… well, alien to us.
      The chemistry in our bodies and those of all life of earth is based mostly on the element carbon. But there are plenty of other elements that life on other planets might be made up of. They might not even have DNA like life on earth does. They might have something completely different!

      I think that’s what’s most exciting about it. Life on other planets is probably so different to life on earth that we can’t even imagine it.

    • Photo: Ross Hill

      Ross Hill answered on 4 Jun 2019:

      Earth is the only planet that we know of to harbor life (So far….). Which is beautifully scary, that all life ever observed exists on a single planet, a planet that we as humans are not doing our best to preserve.

      BUT life MAY exist outside of our own solar system. There are an estimated 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 stars in the universe and each one may have many planets, known as exoplanets (planets outside our own solar system). It is thought that there is on average 1 planet per star in the universe, which means there is ~1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 planets, all of which may have, or have had or may go on to have life.

      But this question goes further, if there is life on other planets, did it arise independently from the “terrestrial” life on earth, if so it would be known as extraterrestrial life (ET). Or did the life here on Earth come form elsewhere?

      The best questions in science often raise even more questions, and this is question does that!

      What would life on other planets be like? Would it be simple life forms? Would they be intelligent? Would they use a genetic molecular such as DNA?

      Maybe one day we will find out.

    • Photo: Thiloka Ratnaike

      Thiloka Ratnaike answered on 4 Jun 2019:

      What a terrific question, one that I am waiting to hear answers to as well! Shobhana has got some great websites there, the BBC also often do interesting documentaries or short reports on what scientists have found so far in the search for clues: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/topics/c95znz24zkkt/extraterrestrial-life. Happy watching and do let us know if you go on to discover ET!

    • Photo: Kaitlin Wade

      Kaitlin Wade answered on 4 Jun 2019:

      I hope so! If it’s just us in the universe, it seems like an awful waste of space.

    • Photo: Deepak Chandrasekharan

      Deepak Chandrasekharan answered on 4 Jun 2019:

      There probably should be…but we haven’t found them yet and they haven’t found us yet either – this is strange!

      This puzzle is know as the Fermi paradox

      The Fermi Paradox

    • Photo: Marianne King

      Marianne King answered on 4 Jun 2019:

      I’d really like to think so, surely it can’t just be us. An exciting thought is that maybe ‘living’ to them might be entirely different to what we perceive as living. Silicon-based life might be possible, perhaps! “Kurzgesagt – In a Nutshell” is a YouTube channel I really enjoy about space, but it gives me a headache as it’s all a bit mind-blowing sometimes! It has some fun videos about aliens and where they might be. Do we even want to find aliens?! Would they be friendly… or would they want to steal all our teabags?

    • Photo: Lorena Boquete Vilarino

      Lorena Boquete Vilarino answered on 4 Jun 2019:

      Interesting question! I don’t think we have found any living creatures on different planets yet, but my humble opinion is that it is possible and very likely given the amount of planets in the universe! The creatures may not be like us or any animal or plant on Earth, but I do think some sort of life form is out there

    • Photo: David Wilson

      David Wilson answered on 4 Jun 2019:

      I think so, I don’t know where they are or what they look like but in the infinite space of the universe I cant imagine we’re the only life form.

    • Photo: Rachel Hardy

      Rachel Hardy answered on 4 Jun 2019:

      I’d really like to think so, I find it difficult to believe that we are the only forms of life to exist. At the moment, scientists have not found any evidence to support this. The fact that Earth supports life so well is due to 3 main reasons. 1) It has water, 2) It has an atmosphere at just the right temperature (not too hot or too cold) 3) It is at a distance from the sun that provides just the right amount of light and heat. Although some planets have these features (e.g. Mars is thought to have been covered with water in the past following discoveries of polar ice caps and dried up river beds), no evidence of life has been discovered to date. Interestingly, scientists believe that if forms of life are found on other planets, these are likely to be microorganisms rather than people. These microorganisms are known as ‘extremophiles’, meaning that they can survive in extreme environments. For example, microorganisms such as this have been discovered deep within the earths crust, far away from any sunlight. Instead, they make energy from rocks deep below the surface of the Earth. This evidence supports the theory that life can evolve in harsh environments. Mars and Europa (a moon of the planet Jupiter) are thought to be the most likely places where these forms of life may exist. This is an active research area, with rovers currently searching Mars for evidence that may support extraterrestrial life. The links provided by Shobhana and Thiloka will be great ways to learn more about this topic 🙂

    • Photo: Matthew Bareford

      Matthew Bareford answered on 14 Jun 2019:

      I think that given the number of planets and their moon which have the capacity to support life In some way, there has to be. However scientists have found no real proof.

      Whilst the other planets in our solar system wouldn’t be able to support forms of life (at least as we know it) there are some moons of planets such as Jupiter however that appear to have liquid oceans underneath their surfaces. These are really interesting to scientists as they believe that within these their may well be life. Possibly as simple single celled organisms (bacteria) or even larger….