Why we should search for alien life within our own Solar System

Rosetta probe landing on 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko comet. Image credit: ESA

By examining interstellar asteroids and comets up close, argues Harvard astronomer Avi Loeb, we might be able to tell whether life exists elsewhere in the Milky Way galaxy—and we could do so without having to leave the cozy confines of our Solar System.

A major benefit of such a mission is that, assuming we find traces of life on an exotic object, we’d have tangible, empirical proof of alien life. This proof of life could come in three forms: microbial or animal life capable of surviving the harsh conditions of space (and possibly even re-entry through a planet’s atmosphere, spreading life elsewhere); the dead remnants of alien life (seen as chemical or biosignatures); or so-called techno-signatures, that is, the technological artifacts left by aliens.

Related article:  A different approach to finding alien life: What if ET breathes hydrogen instead of oxygen?

Here’s how Loeb envisions such a project:

My dream project is to organize a space mission that will land on the surface of trapped interstellar objects within the Solar System and check whether they have signs of life.

Loeb’s dream experiment may be a long shot, but in many ways, it’s quite feasible. We’re actually getting really good at detecting biosignatures and biomarkers within Earth’s oldest rocks, and similar approaches could be used when exploring nearby asteroids and comets. At the same time, next-gen telescopes could be used to sniff out potential biosignatures from afar.

Read full, original post: Why a Mission to a Visiting Interstellar Object Could Be Our Best Bet for Finding Aliens

Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
Talking Biotech
Genetics Unzipped
Video: Test everyone – Slovakia goes its own way to control COVID

Video: Test everyone – Slovakia goes its own way to control COVID

As Europe sees record coronavirus cases and deaths, Slovakia is testing its entire adult population. WSJ's Drew Hinshaw explains how ...
mag insects image superjumbo v

Disaster interrupted: Which farming system better preserves insect populations: Organic or conventional?

A three-year run of fragmentary Armageddon-like studies had primed the journalism pumps and settled the media framing about the future ...
dead bee desolate city

Are we facing an ‘Insect Apocalypse’ caused by ‘intensive, industrial’ farming and agricultural chemicals? The media say yes; Science says ‘no’

The media call it the “Insect Apocalypse”. In the past three years, the phrase has become an accepted truth of ...
globalmethanebudget globalcarbonproject cropped x

Infographic: Cows cause climate change? Agriculture scientist says ‘belching bovines’ get too much blame

A recent interview by Caroline Stocks, a UK journalist who writes about food, agriculture and the environment, of air quality ...
organic hillside sweet corn x

Organic v conventional using GMOs: Which is the more sustainable farming?

Many consumers spend more for organic food to avoid genetically modified products in part because they believe that “industrial agriculture” ...
benjamin franklin x

Are most GMO safety studies funded by industry?

The assertion that biotech companies do the research and the government just signs off on it is false ...

Environmental Working Group: EWG challenges safety of GMOs, food pesticide residues

Known by some as the "Environmental Worrying Group," EWG lobbies for tighter GMO legislation and famously puts out annual "dirty dozen" list of fruits and ...
m hansen

Michael Hansen: Architect of Consumers Union ongoing anti-GMO campaign

Michael K. Hansen (born 1956) is thought by critics to be the prime mover behind the ongoing campaign against agricultural biotechnology at Consumer Reports. He is an ...
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
Optional. Mail on special occasions.
Send this to a friend