Could humans already be living on other planets? Scientists have released their first analysis of a meteorite that crashed in Gloucestershire last year, with results which gesture towards the possibility of life in the universe — and it may look more familiar than you think.
'Witness' from space hints at origin of life
Could humans already be living on other planets? Scientists have released their first analysis of a meteorite that crashed in Gloucestershire last year, with results which gesture towards the possibility of life in the universe - and it may look more familiar than you think.
In the fifth season of the BBC's Doctor Who, about a voyaging alien "Time Lord" with a soft spot for human companionship, the Doctor's companion is shocked to discover that he is extraterrestrial.
"But you look human," she says. He shakes his head indignantly: "No. You look Time Lord. We came first."
Long gone are the days of budget CGI aliens with huge skulls, antennae ears and leathery green skin. Most recent depictions of aliens look quite a lot like us.
Now, some scientists think the media might have got it right. Last year, a meteorite crashed in the town of Winchcombe in Gloucestershire, England, and a new analysis of its components had interesting results.
Lab researchers' breakdowns of the meteorite from Jupiter - which is approximately 649 million kilometres away - showed that 11% of its weight was made up of water.
Even more strangely, the water extracted from the meteorite had around the same ratio of hydrogen atoms as on Earth, meaning that it closely resembles the water that created life here.1
The news seems to add more evidence to an existing theory: that Earth's water, the foundation of every organism that exists on our planet, was brought by asteroids. And if asteroids can carry water almost identical to ours across the universe, other planets could also have similar life to ours.
If alien life forms developed on a planet with a similar environment to Earth, they might appear "humanoid". Evolution could have pointed them in the same direction, giving them a similar appearance to us.
This could mean that aliens living on different planets confronting similar challenges could look exactly like us, even if we were raised in totally different corners of the universe.
But some scientists disagree, saying that evolution would never happen in the exact same way in entirely different places.
Could humans already be living on other planets?
Yes: If we think about how big the universe is - possibly limitless - the law of probability states that there must be some human, or at least humanoid, species living on different planets. In fact, it is much more likely that we would find something with evolutionary similarities to us than something totally different.
No: Even if some small conditions were similar, small differences could create huge changes in the evolutionary process of life on other planets. It is highly unlikely that we would find anything out there that strongly resembled us. Besides, we do not even have proof of any extraterrestrial life yet.
Or... It is unlikely that "humans" could be living on other planets, because regardless of the similarities, it is functionally impossible that a lifeform absolutely identical to a human would have developed on a different planet. But there could certainly be similar lifeforms.