Saturn’s moon Enceladus, Jupiter’s moon Europa, Pluto and its moon Charon, as well as the dwarf planet Ceres potential homes for extra-terrestrials, scientists at the University of Texas at San Antonio and the Southwest Research Institute claim.
It all comes down to a process called radioalysis, which experts believe could breed the life in the universe.
All that is required, is a rocky core and water molecules – something scientists rely our solar system has enough of.
The study found that one of the rocky cores of some planets and moons emit radiation, which break up the water molecules and, in turn, feed the microbial life.
The scientists performed an experiment to predict how the radiation would affect the interior oceans on planets like Pluto and Saturn’s moon Europa.
Alexis Bouquet, lead author said: “The physical and chemical processes that follow radiolysis release of molecular hydrogen, that is, a molecule of astrobiological interest.”
The radiation comes from elements such as uranium, thorium, potassium and are found in a group of rocky meteorites called chrondites.
Pluto, as well as Saturn and the moons of Jupiter, is made of chrondite.
That means an ocean of water penetrate into the pores of the rock of the core could be affected by radiolysis, the production of molecular hydrogen and reactive oxygen compounds – the building blocks for life.
NASA seems pretty convinced that Europe has a large ocean, and is planning to send a spacecraft to search for extraterrestrial life.
Life forms that are formed by means of radiolysis can be found closer to home.
Bouquet said that they are found in extreme environments on Earth.
These are equipped with a groundwater sample to find of nearly two kilometers deep in a South African gold mine, and at hydrothermal vents on the ocean floor.
Their existence suggests microbes can be found when rock and ocean meet in planets like Enceladus or Europa.
“We know that these radioactive elements existing within icy bodies, but this is the first systematic look at the solar system to estimate the radiolysis.
“The results suggest that there are many potential targets for exploration that are out there, and that is exciting”, says co-author Dr. Danielle Wyrick, a principal scientist from the Southwest Research Institute’s Space Science and Engineering Department.
Radiolysis can also help in making food for these aliens.
“Radiolysis in a ocean world outer core is of fundamental importance in the support of life. Because mixtures of water and rocks are everywhere in the outer solar system, this understanding increases the chances of the abundant habitable real estate out there,” Bouquet said.
It is just the latest discovery to enjoy UFO hunters.
Conspiracy theorists tongues were wagging after a mysterious star that could be home to extraterrestrial life began to flash again last week.