The Rosetta spacecraft's Philae lander has sent back information that could point to the existence of microbial alien life on Comet 67P, astronomers from the University of Cardiff have said.
Aspects of the comet, named 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, are most easily explained by the presence of living organisms, scientists believe.
According to astronomer and astrobiologist Professor Chandra Wickramasinghe, the comet's black hydrocarbon crust could be home to microbes not dissimilar to the "extremophiles" found in some of the most inhospitable places on Earth, such as those that live deep in Antarctic ice or in the Mariana Trench.
Neither the Rosetta spacecraft nor its probe, the Philae lander, which touched down on 67P seven months ago, are equipped to search for life directly. A proposal to include such equipment was allegedly "laughed out of court" before the European Space Agency mission commenced, The Guardian reports....
Wickramasinghe said: "If the Rosetta orbiter has found evidence of life on the comet, it would be a fitting tribute to mark the centenary of the birth of Sir Fred Hoyle, one of the undisputable pioneers of astrobiology."
Source: Rosetta comet 'may be home to alien life'