Dozens of compelling claims come out every year that seem to suggest the existence of life on planets other than our own. And yet even when they come from the government itself, these bits of evidence get lost in the shuffle of the ongoing UFO debate. Imagine for a moment Earth had discovered evidence of life on Mars, SETI had received signals that seemed to be of intelligent origin, and even hostile environments such as Venus seemed to be brimming with life according to data collected by NASA space probes. It may surprise you to learn all three are still being debated in the highest tiers of the scientific community.
By now most of us have heard of the Mars Asteroid ALH84001 which was said to possess signs of alien life, but was later refuted and thought to have come from a more terrestrial origin in a debate that lives on even today. But did you know when the Mars Lander made its way to the red planet in 1976 it found chemical evidence suggesting those same microbes that would be discovered later might have been present in a large portion of Martian soil. Why was it dismissed? Despite the positive results, which scientists couldn’t explain, no specific examples of a Martian microbe was discovered. Later it was speculated that ALH84001 contained life that may not have been picked up by these same tests.
You’ve probably also heard of the ‘Wow’ signal picked up by the SETI program. The incredibly loud signal was picked up by an Ohio University radio telescope. The signal was well outside of traditional radio frequencies used on Earth and was so strong that the researcher recording the data wrote “Wow!” in the margins as the printer spat out the readings. Why was the signal dismissed? The explanation given by skeptics essentially meant that nothing SETI could find would be considered proof of alien life unless it specifically contained a message indicating such an origin. But did you know that SETI would also receive a message on three separate occasions from the same area of space in 2004? The signal was dismissed using largely the same premise.
But perhaps strangest of all were the signs of life found on overwhelmingly hostile planets such as Jupiter and Venus. Venus should, by all known models of the planet’s composition, be emitting vast amounts of carbon dioxide, and yet it isn’t. The only explanation for this is a microbe that would collect the carbon dioxide and convert it into other more common elements on the planet’s surface. Though the planet’s surface is incredibly hot and uninhabitable for life as we know it, in the upper atmosphere it is actually quite cool and moist being an ideal location for creatures even existing on Earth. Why was it dismissed? If the planet’s atmosphere were so cool, it would need to find a way to stay up there without being pulled back to the planet’s surface by gravity. And while it’s unknown how such a creature could survive, scientists studying old data have suggested it’s not beyond the realm of possibility and could explain quite a bit about its atmospheric composition.
So if even one of these surprisingly likely and compelling theories were to carry with them an element of truth suggesting extraterrestrial presence elsewhere in the universe we would be able to begin creating a model by which life on other planets could have evolved to a more technologically advanced form. But is it possible they could already have done the same and actually reached for the stars to find us?