A team of scientists from Cornell University have developed a sophisticated model that suggests extraterrestrial life may be found in the methane oceans of Saturn’s largest moon Titan. Their model was published in the academic journal, Science Advances on Feb 27. Just as marine life on Earth can extract oxygen from oceans to fulfill basic biological needs, so too life on Titan could extract methane from the oceans to reproduce and metabolize.
According to a public release by Cornell University, the model suggests that methane-breathers of Titan would be able to flourish in very cold environments:
Taking a simultaneously imaginative and rigidly scientific view, chemical engineers and astronomers offer a template for life that could thrive in a harsh, cold world – specifically Titan, the giant moon of Saturn. A planetary body awash with seas not of water, but of liquid methane, Titan could harbor methane-based, oxygen-free cells.
The surprising breakthrough in modelling radical new forms of life by Cornell University scientists gives support to an unlikely source of information about extraterrestrial life. Alex Collier claims that he was contacted by extraterrestrials from the Andromeda constellation and was told that methane life forms exist throughout the galaxy.
In a 2002 lecture interview discussing galactic history according to the Andromedans, Collier said:
Hydrogen ecosystems are much more abundant as is methane because they are not complicated ecosystems. O2 ecosystems are very complex, the most complex in the galaxy…. according to the archeological record, other life forms, sentient life forms, reptilian, human, plasmic, methane life forms all began to appear; and do appear in our galaxy in full form.
The Cornell university scientific model helps corroborate Collier’s claims that methane-breathing life forms have appeared throughout the galaxy, and have developed high degrees of intelligence.
The recent Cassini mission to Titan showed that it is the only body in the solar system which, like Earth, has a rocky surface with liquid oceans. NASA released photographs of Titan in 2013 that enabled scientists to estimate the size and depths of its oceans. NASA is currently studying the possibility of sending a submarine to Titan to explore its methane oceans. According to Discovery News:
Envisaged as a possible mission to Titan’s largest sea, Kracken Mare, the autonomous submersible would be designed to make a 90 day, 2,000 kilometer (1,250 mile) voyage exploring the depths of this vast and very alien marine environment.
If the Cornell scientists’ model is correct, a future NASA mission to Titan may find life flourishing in its oceans. If Collier is correct, alien life on Titan may have reached a degree of complexity that will greatly surprise Earth scientists and lead to a radical new understanding of how different forms of intelligent extraterrestrial life may be flourishing throughout the galaxy.
© Michael E. Salla, Ph.D. Copyright Notice
Yesterday was a good day for those proposing that extraterrestrial life currently exists on Mars. In a Dec. 16 paper published in the journal Science, NASA says that significant methane levels were detected by the Curiosity Rover over a two month period suggesting that “Mars is episodically producing methane from an … unknown source.” The “unknown source”, as a number of mainstream media articles were quick to point out given what is known about the creation of methane, may be extraterrestrial life, The New York Times published an article titled, “’A Great Moment’: Rover finds Clue that Mars May Harbor Life,” The Guardian wrote “Methane ‘spikes’ fuel speculation of life on Mars.” ScientificAmerican used as its subtitle: “New results suggest evidence for extraterrestrial life could be near at hand.” This is not the first time that NASA has released scientific data pointing to life on Mars. On previous occasions, NASA scientists argued over the results. Judging from the number of authors to the Dec. 16 paper, there appears to be rare unanimity. Are we on the verge of a major NASA announcement that reveals life has been found on Mars?
The New York Times pointed out that NASA’s announcement is a major reversal on the position it reached only a year earlier :
“the new findings … are a 180-degree flip from a year ago, when mission scientists said that Curiosity had found no signs of methane,”
The Curiosity Rover also found carbon-based organic molecules the significance of which the New York Times explained from comments given at a News Conference by NASA scientists at the American Geophysical Union:
The scientists also reported that for the first time, they had confirmed the presence of carbon-based organic molecules in a rock sample. The so-called organics are not direct signs of life, past or present, but they lend weight to the possibility that Mars had the ingredients required for life, and may even still have them.
NASA’s announcement is good news for scientists that have claimed that previous scientific data from Mars suggested that life exists there in the form of microbes. The most famous was the “Labeled Release” experiment from the 1976 Viking mission that obtained positive results for evidence of Martian life. The experiment’s designer, Dr Gilbert Levin, thought the results clearly indicated Martian life, but he was not supported by the NASA administration. In a 2012 reassessment of Gilbert’s experiment, he was finally supported by an independent team of scientists who concluded:
The only extraterrestrial life detection experiments ever conducted were the three which were components of the 1976 Viking Mission to Mars. Of these, only the Labeled Release experiment obtained a clearly positive response…. We have applied complexity analysis to the Viking LR data….We conclude that the complexity pattern seen in active experiments strongly suggests biology while the different pattern in the control responses is more likely to be non-biological….These analyses support the interpretation that the Viking LR experiment did detect extant microbial life on Mars.
More controversial are the claims by Richard Hoover, a former NASA senior scientist who claims that in 2004, the Mars Rover, Opportunity photographed what clearly looked like the fossilized remains of a crinoid, a marine animal that looks like a sea lily. Hoover showed it to colleagues who immediately recognized the object as a crinoid. However, rather than examine the exciting possibility that Opportunity had photographed the fossilized remains of a living organism, Hoover said that less than four hours after taking the photo, Opportunity’s rock abrasion tool ground the area where the possible fossil lay into dust. He asked David McKay, the former chief astrobiologist at the Johnson Space Center, why this had been done. The response Hoover received was less than satisfactory.
Gilbert’s and Hoover’s experiences suggest that there are those at a senior level in the NASA administration that have in the past deliberately prevented evidence of extraterrestrial life on Mars being accepted, and even destroyed. This makes NASA’s reversal of its previous conclusions of methane levels on Mars significant, as is the emphasis that the New York Times gives to NASA’s recent backtracking. Has NASA changed its policy on releasing evidence of life of Mars?
People always ask the question ‘Why Mars?’ Several reasons: One, Mars is very Earth-like, or least used to be Earth-like. It is a planet, a sister planet to Earth. It is the most likely planet in our solar system, um, that had life at one time… may have life now, and we feel can definitely sustain life.
Was this merely a coincidence, or was Bolden preparing the world public for some surprising future announcement regarding life on Mars? NASA may be simply driven by new scientific data gained by the Curiosity Rover as the Dec. 16 Science article suggests. Alternatively, it may be that there has been a recent policy shift in the higher echelons of NASA, and it is poised to release data finally confirming that life, at least in the form of primitive microbes, does currently exist on Mars.
© Michael E. Salla, Ph.D. Copyright Notice