February 14, 2011

Sunless Biospheres

Today, I heard about the newly discovered sets of undersea vents found near Antartica. I can’t help but remember an article just a few days ago that mentioned the possibility of rogue planets harboring life. Although the theory is based on computer simulations, the researchers say that a “Steppenwolf planet” wandering in outer space like a “lone wolf”--may have liquid oceans if the water were heated from below by the planet's core and insulated from above by a thick layer of ice. A sunless biosphere.

I wonder how long these Steppenwolf planets will manage to keep the heat inside it's shell of ice to give enough time for life to synthesize from within its undersea vents. Time and luck is definitely a factor. Nevertheless, there’s a lot of planets out there; and not even counting exomoons in the equation, Hydrothermal Vents may be common for those planets that may have ample amount of water and enough internal heat as a source of energy. And judging from the resiliency of life as demonstrated by extremophiles thriving upon the energy and minerals around these vents, it makes me even more convinced of the possibility that life may be common in the universe.

Perhaps Life is not wholly dependent upon stars and suns. Perhaps Life just needs is a source of energy in any which form it is available and it will take hold given enough time and space--which in this case, is a Sunless Biosphere of a Steppenwolf Planet.

More deep-sea vents discovered
Rogue Planets could harbor life