Nasa is about to make an “amazing announcement” about Pluto, which a senior scientist at the agency has hinted may be about how the planet is home to alien life.
Dr Alan Stern, the man in charge of the New Horizons mission to Pluto, said that the “the world is alive”, when asked for a hint as to what Nasa is likely to announce.
And some scientists have suggested that Pluto could support alien life.
Soon after New Horizons made its flypast, Brian Cox said that the probe “showed you that there may well be a subsurface ocean on Pluto, which means — if our understanding of life on Earth is even slightly correct — that you could have living things there”.
There are a range of new findings that could increase the likelihood of Pluto being able to support life, even if they don’t show that there is life already there. The discovery of water, for instance, would hugely increase the chance of alien life as it has on Mars — especially if it is warm.
Only 10 per cent of the data from the New Horizons spacecraft has been downloaded so far, Dr Stern said. That means that much more is likely to be revealed as more images are sent back.
Dr Stern also said that “2015 will be a year in textbooks forever”. It’s unclear whether he meant because of the discoveries that are set to be announced or those that already have been revealed — which include the discovery of water on Mars, the finding of an “Earth 2.0” and the successful New Horizons mission to Pluto.
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