UFO Buster Radio Halloween News – 286: H2O on Borisov and Aliens May Breathe Rocks
Astronomers say they have detected a telltale trace of water on comet 2I/Borisov, the first known interstellar comet. If confirmed, it will be the first time water from another planetary system has been detected inside our solar system.
Since comet Borisov was discovered in late August, astronomers have been racing to observe it in detail before it hurtles away following its closest approach to the sun in early December. We have already detected gas in the form of cyanogen being ejected from its surface, something common to comets in our own solar system.
Adam McKay at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland and his colleagues hit the jackpot. They used an instrument at the Apache Point Observatory in New Mexico to study the light reflected by comet Borisov earlier this month, and found large amounts of oxygen around the comet, possibly a result of water ice turning, or sublimating, from solid to gas as it is heated by the sun.
“If a water molecule sublimates off the surface, it gets released as water vapour,” says McKay. From there, ultraviolet light from the sun will break the molecule apart into hydrogen and oxygen, which is what the team detected.
Astronomers have detected the emission from the small carbon chains C2 in the coma of 2I/Borisov, the first known interstellar comet to visit our Solar System.
The astronomers detected the emission from diatomic carbon (C2) in its coma and confirmed the earlier detection of cyanide gas.
Original: Binary Star System 13 lightyears away.
Rock-breathing aliens? NASA researcher says we must think beyond anything we know
Any place where there is water on Earth, scientists say they have found life — even in the most inhospitable environments. A Rutgers University professor says in the search to find extraterrestrial life, the focus should be not on planets but rather on moons in our galaxy where there’s evidence of water.
But alien life could survive in ways you never imagined possible.
Nathan Yee is a NASA-funded researcher at Rutgers and is teaching a new class on astrobiology, the study of alien life, the university said.
“All things eat and breathe, and when you remove oxygen, like on ancient-Earth or Mars atmospheres, there are microbes that have figured out ways to breathe other things, like iron found inside of rocks,” he said.
Yee’s astrobiology course started this semester at the university in New Jersey. It “covers the origins of life on Earth and what this has to do with life on other planets,” the university said.
“In time, I hope the course and minor grow into undergraduate and graduate programs of astrobiology because I predict astrobiology will become one of the most important fields of science in the future,” Yee said.
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