Undiscovered life in our galaxy is not far-fetched and there is “almost a racing certainty” of life on Europa and Mars, according to a top UK space scientist.
Monica Grady, professor of planetary and space science at Liverpool Hope University, said frigid seas beneath ice sheets on Europa, Jupiter’s moon, could harbor octopus-like creatures, and deep caverns and caves on Mars may hide subterranean lifeforms as they offer shelter from solar radiation while potentially boasting remnants of ice.
Speaking at the university where she has just been installed as chancellor, Professor Grady said, “If there is something on Mars, it’s likely to be very small – bacteria. But I think we’ve got a better chance of having slightly higher forms of life on Europa, perhaps similar to the intelligence of an octopus.”
Europa’s 15-mile-deep layer of ice acts as a protective barrier against both solar radiation and asteroid impact.
The prospect of hydrothermal vents on the ocean floor and sodium chloride in Europa’s salty water boost the prospects of life.
The professor, a resident at the Open University who has also worked with the European Space Agency, believes life elsewhere is perfectly possible.
“Whether we will ever be able to contact extraterrestrial life is anyone’s guess, purely because the distances are just too huge,” Grady said. “And as for so-called alien ‘signals’ received from space, there’s been nothing real or credible, I’m afraid.”