Searching for the potential habitation of alien life isn’t an easy job. As the Universe boundaries are infinitive, choosing the right piece of sky to have a look at is quite challenging. So scientists have to investigate where to look first, and then to explore possible extraterrestrial life. Up to recently, astronomers have focused on so-called exoplanets as the places with the biggest chances for host life.

Researchers from the University of Edinburgh have calculated that potential habitation might be the upper atmosphere of a brown dwarf. Poetically called “failed stars”, brown dwarfs are substellar objects whose mass and density isn’t enough to trigger hydrogen fusion in their core. Still, their size is intermediate between stars and gaseous giant planets. Because of dwarfs inability to have nuclear fusion, they are cooled by millions of years. At some point, the temperature may drop to the level of the room temperature, and therefore support the atmosphere with methane and water vapor. This mean that the temperature and the pressure may be similar to the Earth condition. This allows possibilities for alien life at the very least on the microbial level.

The subject of this particular research was the brown dwarf named WISE 0855-0714. This object was detected in March 2013 and it is approximately 7 light years far away from Earth. Researchers, led by Jack Yates, have used Carl Sagan calculation for life exploration on Jupiter and adapted to the dwarfs features. The idea of Sagan was that creatures like plankton or balloon creatures, called “floaters” could live in the clouds of Jupiter. Same thoughts have the researchers, strongly believed that those potential beings don’t need a solid surface for a living.  An extra boost to this possibility is the fact that there are already many ingredients of life in the dwarf’s atmosphere. Those ingredients are oxygen, hydrogen, nitrogen, and carbon. This encourages scientist for further research on alien life.

Milky Way galaxy contains approximately 1 billion brown dwarfs. According to the astronomical measurements, some of them are near to the Earth. This open many possibilities for exploration. We don’t have any more to focus only on the solid ground and water as the unique predisposition of alien life. The hypothetical idea of living beings in the clouds of the failed stars may become palpable in the future.

 

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