Alien life may exist in our own solar system, with an expert believing Jupiter’s moon to be home to octopus-like creatures.
Europa has long been a spot of speculation for evolving life outside of Earth. With an abundance of icy cold water and a rampant production of oxygen, exploration of the moon has classified as a high-priority mission by NASA since 2013.
Monica Grady, a professor of Planetary and Space Science at Liverpool Hope University, echoes this belief – suggesting that the seas beneath the moon’s crust could be host to marine wildlife similar to octopuses.
Along with Europa, Grady also believes there could be life on Mars (buried beneath the surface, where it’d be protected from solar radiation).
Grady told the MailOnline:
When it comes to the prospects of life beyond Earth, it’s almost a racing certainty that there’s life beneath the ice on Europa. Elsewhere, if there’s going to be life on Mars, it’s going to be under the surface of the planet. There you’re protected from solar radiation. And that means there’s the possibility of ice remaining in the pores of the rocks, which could act as a source of water.
If there is something on Mars, it’s likely to be very small-bacteria. But I think we’ve got a better chance of having slightly higher forms of life on Europa, perhaps similar to the intelligence of an octopus.
Just last June, NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope spotted sodium chloride (aka, salt) on Europa’s surface. Below the moon’s frozen seawater exterior lies vast icy depths, highly speculated to be the ideal breeding ground for life.
As for beyond the Milky Way, Grady explained:
Our solar system is not a particularly special planetary system, as far as we know, and we still haven’t explored all the stars in the galaxy. But I think it’s highly likely there will be life elsewhere – and I think it’s highly likely they’ll be made of the same elements. Humans evolved from little furry mammals that got the opportunity to evolve because the dinosaurs were killed by an asteroid impact.
That is probably not going to happen on every planet – but it’s at least possible based purely on a statistical argument. Whether we will ever be able to contact extraterrestrial life is anyone’s guess, purely because the distances are just too huge.
There’s always the chance that, within our solar system, we could be the only forms of intelligent life. ‘If there’s only us, then we have a duty to protect the planet,’ Grady added.
As long as there’s no xenomorphs, let us venture ad astra’ – we surely can’t be the only life in this vast expanse of space.