Planets once thought to be too cold could be host to life according to scientists who are looking into the possibility of detecting them by their auroras. The new discovery suggests that even planets operating outside of the known "Goldilocks Zone" of planets and even traveling on their own without a sun to orbit could sustain life on them. And one could potentially be heading toward Earth right now with life on its surface.
The new study suggests that these rogue planets would be extremely difficult to detect - although it would be theoretically possible to do so given an extreme amount of luck. The planets, which would be darkened due to their distance from a known sun would have been cast off by their parent sun and sent spiraling off into the dark void of space. But even under these normally inhospitable circumstances, the planet may be able to sustain life if it were to have a moon that generated heat on the planet due to its extreme gravity.
Still, scientists suggest their best bet for finding life may be detecting a planet residing in the 'goldilocks zone' the old fashioned way. The Goldilocks Zone is the area around planets that is neither too hot nor too cold for life to exist. It has long been believed that the most likely place to find a planet with life on it would be to look in the thin ring surrounding the planet where life could exist in a way comparable to Earth.
But what if a planet were somehow hurtling through the void of space with a sustained population on it? Scientists have for years speculated that this might be possible if the life on the planet's surface were technologically advanced enough to have developed an artificial means of sustaining itself. An artificial means could be created by utilizing a complex system of nuclear fission or fusion devices and allowing that to sustain heat for the complex system of cities surrounding the planet. Air could be generated by artificial growing lights interspersed throughout the complex -possibly even idyllic - subterranean complex. And it wouldn't necessarily have to even be cramped. Given enough power, an underground facility could be just as complex as life on Earth with massive domes sustaining whole acres of farm land or "wilderness preserves" until the planet found a suitable replacement from which the inhabitants could end their long journey through the stars and start anew. Of course it would be a long wait, so several would likely be already used to life on the rogue planet itself.
So could we one day see a planet with either complex or simple life forms living on the surface or deeper within the planet? If it does happen, it seems it would be extraordinarily unlikely to happen within our own lifetime. Or would it be? Planet X, as some astronomers have calculated, is on its way back. And when it does finally appear at the edge of our visible range, what will we find on it?