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Alien Life Roundup

July 27, 2007

Extraterrestrial life could be very different from life as we know it.


What might aliens look like? I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Could a mission exploring other planets pass right by an extraterrestrial life form—and not even notice? That’s the concern expressed by a National Research Council committee that examined the current state of astrobiology—the search for life beyond earth. They say that we assume that alien life would be like us: water loving, and carbon based. The committee urges astrobiologists to consider the existence of very different types of life—perhaps based on ammonia or formaldehyde—when searching for life in space.

In related news, a team of researchers has confirmed the existence of water on a planet outside our solar system. It’s just over 150 light years from earth. However, its surface is over a thousand degrees fahrenheit, so it doesn’t seem very hospitable to life—at least not life as we know it. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.