Alien Lifeforms Could Exist in the Clouds of Brown Dwarfs, Cold "Failed" Stars
Scientists propose an unexpected location for extraterrestrial life.
As we look for extraterrestrial life, questions about where it could live and what it could look like are paramount to the search. Now scientists propose a new possible place to scout. Brown dwarfs are space objects in between planets and stars in size that could get twice as big as Jupiter. A new study proposes that alien life could live in the upper layers of a brown dwarf’s atmosphere, which have temperatures and pressures similar to Earth’s.
What the researchers from the University of Edinburgh think may be possible is related to the nature of cold brown dwarfs, which were discovered in 2011. These dark “failed stars” are basically like regular stars but without the mass to ignite. This creates the temperature conditions in their atmosphere that could be considered habitable for life, boosted also by the presence of key life ingredients carbon, hydrogen and oxygen.
“You don’t necessarily need to have a terrestrial planet with a surface,” said the study's leader Jack Yates, a planetary scientist at the University of Edinburgh, to Science magazine.
Before you get too excited, this life is probably microbial, since that type of organism is more likely to survive in the atmosphere that is mostly hydrogen gas. The scientists do admit some potential that bigger and heavier creatures could exist there as well, given favorable winds.
To arrive at their hypothesis, scientists built on the work of Carl Sagan, who proposed in 1976 that there could be a sunlight-powered ecosystem that would evolve in the upper atmosphere of Jupiter and feature floating plants. The researchers also considered the 2013 discovery of the brown dwarf WISE 0855-0714, which appears to have water clouds.
Check out Carl Sagan's ideas on the floating life of Jupiter in this segment from "Cosmos":
About a few dozen cold dwarfs have been found so far, while there should be about 10 within 30 light years of Earth, according to calculations. They will be studied by the James Webb Space Telescope that will be operational in 2018, and will be especially sensitive to brown dwarfs.
You can read the paper titled “Atmospheric Habitable Zones in Y Dwarf Atmospheres” here, in The Astrophysical Journal.
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Research by neuroscientists at MIT's Picower Institute for Learning and Memory helps explain how the brain regulates arousal.
The big day has come: You are taking your road test to get your driver's license. As you start your mom's car with a stern-faced evaluator in the passenger seat, you know you'll need to be alert but not so excited that you make mistakes. Even if you are simultaneously sleep-deprived and full of nervous energy, you need your brain to moderate your level of arousal so that you do your best.
A disturbing interview given by a KGB defector in 1984 describes America of today and outlines four stages of mass brainwashing used by the KGB.
- Bezmenov described this process as "a great brainwashing" which has four basic stages.
- The first stage is called "demoralization" which takes from 15 to 20 years to achieve.
- According to the former KGB agent, that is the minimum number of years it takes to re-educate one generation of students that is normally exposed to the ideology of its country.
When these companies compete, in the current system, the people lose.
- When a company reaches the top of the ladder, they typically kick it away so that others cannot climb up on it. The aim? So that another company can't compete.
- When this phenomenon happens in the pharmaceutical world, companies quickly apply for broad protection of their patents, which can last up to 20 years, and fence off research areas for others. The result of this? They stay at the top of the ladder, at the cost of everyday people benefitting from increased competition.
- Since companies have worked out how to legally game the system, Amin argues we need to get rid of this "one size fits all" system, which treats product innovation the same as product invention. Companies should still receive an incentive for coming up with new products, he says, but not 20 years if the product is the result of "tweaking" an existing one.
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