A NASA scientist created quite a splash in the science fraternity and social media in 2018 after he proclaimed that aliens could be real. "They could have visited us, we just didn't notice," he had published as part of a paper.
Now in another study, a different set of scientists have come up with the theory that 'aliens' could really exist - and not very far away.
In a new paper titled "X-Ray, UV, Optical Irradiances and Age of Barnard’s Star’s New Super Earth Planet – ‘Can Life Find a Way’ on such a Cold Planet?,” astrophysicists from Villanova University suggested that the recently discovered super-Earth exoplanet, Barnard B (or GJ 699) that orbits Barnard's Star, could possibly have 'aliens'.
The theory that the exoplanet may support life comes from Edward Guinan, who co-authored the paper.
The scientist recently said in a press release that geothermal heating has the capacity of supporting "life zones" under its surface.
Geothermal heating could potentially produce an ocean for primitive life forms. The phenomenon can also also observed in Antarctica's ice lakes.
Barnard B's temperature is likely to be the same as that of Europa, Jupiter's icy moon, which is at minus 238 degrees.
Due to the similarities between the two planets, Guinan, along with his co-authors Scott Engle and Ignasi Ribas, believe that 'Barnard B' may also have oceans just like Jupiter's Europa. This could lead to frozen over surfaces and geothermal heating, which could produce an environment sustainable for organisms.
The paper also stated that although "little is definitely known about geomagnetism of super-earths like 'Barnard B', a large liquid iron core, that could generate geomagnetic fields, could offer protection from strong winds and coronal mass ejections when the star was young & magnetically active."
While some scientists are skeptical that 'Barnard B' could support life considering how far away it is from its star and how it may lack an atmosphere, Guinan and Engle are not giving up hope.
Earthly telescopes can see Barnard’s Star, but not its planet. Although very faint, it may be possible for 'Barnard B' to be imaged by very large telescopes in future, Engle further added.
The fact that organisms can exist on another planet other than just our pale blue dot is perhaps enough to keep scientists hooked - as it may be the proof of alien existence.