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Aliens Underneath

from New Scientist

Ocean worlds: The search for life in the solar system’s other seas

Our best chance to find alien life lies in the vast oceans inside the icy moons of Saturn and Jupiter – and we don’t have to leave Earth to start looking

By Joshua Sokol

OceanWorlds_MAINValerii Ilnitskii

SUDDENLY, out of darkness, a ghostly city of gnarled white towers looms over the submersible. As the sub approaches to scrape a sample from them, crew-member Kevin Hand spots something otherworldly: a translucent, spaceship-like creature, its iridescent cilia pulsing gently as it passes through the rover’s headlights.

This is not a dispatch from an alien world, but it could be. Hand is a planetary scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena, California, and one of a select few to have visited the carbonate chimneys of the Lost City at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean. It is the site of an extraordinary ecosystem – one that Hand suspects might be replicated on icy moons orbiting distant gas giants. “In my head, I was saying to myself: this is what it might look like,” he says.

[ click to continue reading at New Scientist ]

Posted on September 9, 2016 by Editor

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