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The research was presented at the British Science Festival in Aberdeen.
Water is fundamental for life as we know it. Planets too close to their sun lose surface water to the atmosphere through evaporation.
Surface water on planets located in the more frigid distant reaches from their sun is locked away as ice. The dogma was, for water to exist in its life-giving liquid form, a planet had to be the right distance from its sun - in the habitable zone.
As you descend through the crust of the Earth, the temperature gets higher and higher. Even when the surface is frozen, water can exist below ground. Immense quantities of water in fact - teeming with primitive life.
As Prof John Parnell, also from Aberdeen University said: "There is a significant habitat for microorganisms below the surface of the Earth, extending down several kilometres. "And some workers believe that the bulk of life on Earth could even reside in this deep biosphere." So the Aberdeen team are developing models to predict which far-flung planets might harbour underground reservoirs of liquid water with the possibility of alien life.
According to Mr McMahon, "There will be several times more [habitable] planets".
Originally posted by kingofmd
Life cannot simply create itself.
Originally posted by kingofmd
...Life cannot simply create itself. Being able to "sustain" is not the same as "create". For all that say evolution did it, you still have the problem of explaining how the first cell came about and reproduced from non living matter.
Originally posted by MathematicalPhysicist
Yet, there isn't a single piece of evidence for intelligent extraterrestrials out there. Being habitable is one thing, harbouring intelligent life is quite another. There is the probability that the rise of intelligent life is such a rare occurrence in the universe and hence there might only be a handful of planets throughout the entire observable universe that have harboured and continue to harbour intelligent life.
The question of whether earth is alone in supporting living organisms has dogged scientists, philosophers and amateur stargazers for centuries. But Lord Rees, president of the Royal Society, believes that developments in astronomy mean that astrophysicists could be able to view images of distant planets outside of our solar system as soon as 2025, and potentially discover whether there is some form of life on them.
He said: 'We know now that stars are orbited by retinues of planets just as our sun is. We have learned this in just the last decade, essentially. 'Within 10 or 20 years we will be able to image other planets like the earth, orbiting other stars. 'That will be a really exciting subject to see if there is evidence for [extra-terrestrial] life or not.'