In the vast blanket of space there is a tiny beacon of light. This is earth, the sole known planet containing life. Is this the only light in a vast ocean of darkness? Or are there others, extraterrestrials, living somewhere out in the void?

Life, albeit not intelligent bipedal life, may exist closer to home than you would think. There is evidence that microorganisms live in Venus’ clouds, which have temperatures and pressures similar to Earth. Carbonyl sulphide was found on Venus, which is only produced by microbes or catalysts and not by any known inorganic substance. Some studies even suggest that these microbes may have been blown off of Venus by solar winds and transported to Earth.

In 1996, NASA published an article announcing the discovery of evidence for primitive bacterial life on Mars. A meteorite found in Antarctica contained hydrocarbons, mineral phases consistent with by-products of bacterial activity and tiny carbonate globules which may be microfossils of primitive bacteria. Perchlorate, a chemical rich in oxygen and a powerful antifreeze, has been found on Mars as well. Scientists hypothesize that this chemical could be metabolized by Martian microorganisms.

Jupiter’s Moon Europa has vast oceans beneath its icy crust which may be capable of supporting life. The ocean contains twice the water of all of the Earth’s oceans combined. Research by Richard Greenberg of the University of Arizona suggests that the water contains an abundance of oxygen, which is required for the life processes we are familiar with. However, recent studies by Greenberg and others found that Europa’s oceans are acidic, diminishing, but not eliminating, the possibility of life.

In 1977, Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI) found a still unexplained radio signal using an Ohio State University Radio Telescope. The radio signal, which lasted only 72 seconds as the telescope panned over the sky, fit the profile of a transmission beamed from another world. As the telescope panned over the area, the signal surged from background intensities to thirty times higher than background noise, and then back down. Unlike natural radio sources, the signal hit only a single frequency. Jerry Ehman, a project scientist, circled the data and wrote “WOW” next to it.

Additional Resources

Journal of Cosmology a Note on Venus Transit and Microbial Injection to Earth:

Evidence of Ancient Martian Life in Meteorite ALH84001?

Phys Org Europa Has Enough Oxygen for Life:

The Atlantic The “Wow!” Signal:

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