Alien life could survive on likes of Pluto and Europa (pictured), scientists discover
Experts believe that any planet with a rocky core and water molecules – which there seems to be an abundance of in our solar system – has the potential to support life.
A process known as radiolysis sees a small amount of radiation released from the rocky core of a planet which then breaks up water molecules.
This process can then sustain microbial life.
Scientists from the University of Texas at San Antonio and the Southwest Research Institute state Saturn’s moon Enceladus, Jupiter’s moon Europa, Pluto and its moon Charon and another dwarf planet Ceres are all potential candidates to support life.
Pluto has been touted as a potential candidate
Alexis Bouquet, lead author said: “The physical and chemical processes that follow radiolysis release molecular hydrogen, which is a molecule of astrobiological interest.”
Elements such as uranium, potassium and thorium release the radiation while molecular hydrogen and reactive oxygen compounds stem from water.
Enceladus could host life
Co-author Dr. Danielle Wyrick, a principal scientist in SwRI's Space Science and Engineering Division, said: "We know that these radioactive elements exist within icy bodies, but this is the first systematic look across the solar system to estimate radiolysis.
“The results suggest that there are many potential targets for exploration out there, and that's exciting.”
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The Crop Circles are often believed to be created by aliens, as there is no proper explanation behind this phenomenon.
Mr Bouquet added: "Radiolysis in an ocean world's outer core could be fundamental in supporting life.
“Because mixtures of water and rock are everywhere in the outer solar system, this insight increases the odds of abundant habitable real estate out there.