Researchers have discovered the existence of life encased in tiny bubbles within sheets of ‘flammable ice’ in a potential breakthrough that could reveal how aliens exist on other planets.
Flammable ice occurs when ice traps methane in its molecular structure. An international team of researchers studying the phenomenon in the Sea of Japan made the startling discovery of life within the microscopic bubbles.
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The discovery, which could have major implications for the likelihood of alien life elsewhere in the universe, was fortuitously made by a team investigating whether flammable ice is an energy source that emits less carbon than other fuels.
Despite incredibly harsh conditions, the microhabitats are grown by microbes within tiny bubbles of oil and water found in sheets of frozen gas and ice.
“In combination with the other evidence collected by my colleagues, my results showed that even under near-freezing temperatures, at extremely high pressures, with only heavy oil and saltwater for food-sources, life was flourishing and leaving its mark,” researcher Stephen Bowden, from the University of Aberdeen, said in a statement.
“It certainly gives a positive spin to cold dark places, and opens up a tantalizing clue as to the existence of life on other planets,” Bowden added.
So it turns out that all the freezing planets at the edge of every planetary system could host life with just ice and a little heat. The findings were published in the journal Scientific Reports.
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