July 9, 2012
Alien Jellyfish Inspired By Ocean Life
Lawrence LeBlond for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
With some inspiration from the studies of ocean life forms, a British space expert envisages alien lifeforms that resemble jellyfish with organs developed to ingest methane and other chemicals for its nutrition, keeping aloft by means of dangling onion-like buoyancy bags, and communicating with pulses of light.
Dr. Maggie Aderin-Peacock, a leading scientist at the European space company Astrium, described her vision of what might have evolved on Saturn´s natural satellite Titan for Science Month, a project by TV channel Eden, reports the Telegraph.
Aderin-Peacock worked with an artist to bring the visions to life. “Our imaginations are naturally constrained by what we see around us, and the conventional wisdom has been that life needs water and is carbon-based,” she said.
However, she added, there is research out there that is looking into the possibilities of silicon-based life forms “evolving on other planets in environments very different to our own. My vision of aliens is an inhuman, silicon-based life form that looks much more like a jellyfish than sci-fi´s little green men.”
“Silicon is just below carbon in the periodic table, has some chemical similarities, and is widely available in the universe. So perhaps we could imagine similar instructions to DNA but with silicon,” Aderin-Peacock said. “Maybe life doesn´t have to resemble anything like DNA at all.”
Aderin-Peacock said that based on the latest discoveries of star-orbiting planets, it may be likely that as many as four intelligent extraterrestrial civilizations exist in the Milky Way. However, they are all so very far away, it is unlikely we will ever meet them.
NASA sent Voyager 1 into space with greetings from Earth in the 1970s. And that satellite has only just made it into deep space. “To get to our nearest neighboring star, Proxima Centauri, would take it 76,000 years,” said Aderin-Peacock.
And furthermore, if these aliens do exist, they would probably not survive on our planet; the damp oxygenated atmosphere would most likely be lethally corrosive to them; equally, humans would not likely survive on these distant worlds.
An artists rendering of Aderin-Peacock's vision can be seen here.