Venus' clouds may harbor 'aerial' aliens, MIT scientists say

Scientists have detected within the Venusian atmosphere a chemical known to be a byproduct of life.

NASA
  • A team of researchers has detected significant amounts of phosphine within the cloud deck of Venus.
  • Computer simulations suggest that the amount of phosphine in the Venusian atmosphere couldn't have been produced by known inorganic processes.
  • The findings aren't conclusive evidence of alien life, but they do suggest Venus shouldn't be overlooked in the search for alien life.
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NASA scientists propose sending a submarine to explore Titan's seas

The mission could launch as soon as the 2030s, the researchers said.

  • A team of scientists have been developing a proposal that would send a semi-autonomous submarine to explore the seas of Titan, Saturn's largest moon.
  • Titan is the only body in our solar system that has large bodies of liquid on its surface.
  • It's also a top candidate in the search for alien life.
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The biology of aliens: How much do we know?

Hollywood has created an idea of aliens that doesn't match the science.

  • Ask someone what they think aliens look like and you'll probably get a description heavily informed by films and pop culture. The existence of life beyond our planet has yet to be confirmed, but there are clues as to the biology of extraterrestrials in science.
  • "Don't give them claws," says biologist E.O. Wilson. "Claws are for carnivores and you've got to be an omnivore to be an E.T. There just isn't enough energy available in the next trophic level down to maintain big populations and stable populations that can evolve civilization."
  • In this compilation, Wilson, theoretical physicist Michio Kaku, Bill Nye, and evolutionary biologist Jonathan B. Losos explain why aliens don't look like us and why Hollywood depictions are mostly inaccurate.
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Study: Life might survive, and thrive, in a hydrogen world

When searching for extraterrestrial life, astronomers may want to look at planets with hydrogen-rich atmospheres.

Hulton Archive/Getty Images
As new and more powerful telescopes blink on in the next few years, astronomers will be able to aim the megascopes at nearby exoplanets, peering into their atmospheres to decipher their composition and to seek signs of extraterrestrial life.
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An Earth-sized planet found in the habitable zone of a nearby star

Until about a decade ago, only two habitable zone planets of any size were known to astronomers: Earth and Mars.

Universal History Archive / Getty Images

A few months ago a group of NASA exoplanet astronomers, who are in the business of discovering planets around other stars, called me into a secret meeting to tell me about a planet that had captured their interest.

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