As researchers strive to determine whether alien life might be thriving somewhere among the stars, Monica Grady, a professor of planetary and space science who was recently installed as chancellor at Liverpool Hope University, has named a celestial body where mankind may finally find the answer.
According to phys.org, Professor Grady argued that it is the ice-covered oceans of one of the Jupiter’s moons, Europa, where extraterrestrial lifeforms may actually exist.
"When it comes to the prospects of life beyond Earth, it's almost a racing certainty that there's life beneath the ice on Europa", she said.
Musing about the prospects of finding alien life somewhere closer to our planet – namely, on Mars – Grady suggested that it could exist under the surface of the Red Planet where “you're protected from solar radiation” and therefore “there's the possibility of ice remaining in the pores of the rocks, which could act as a source of water”.
"If there is something on Mars, it's likely to be very small - bacteria," she says. "But I think we've got a better chance of having slightly higher forms of life on Europa, perhaps similar to the intelligence of an octopus."
She also remarked that our solar system is not “particularly special”, and, as humanity is yet to explore all the stars in our galaxy, she believes it’s “highly likely” that “there will be life elsewhere” and “made of the same elements” to boot.
"Humans evolved from little furry mammals that got the opportunity to evolve because the dinosaurs were killed by an asteroid impact", Grady said. "That is probably not going to happen on every planet—but it's at least possible based purely on a statistical argument".
The professor pointed out, however, that it remains unclear whether mankind will ever be able to actually contact extraterrestrial life, due to the vast distances between stars, and that "there's been nothing real or credible" in terms of the so called "alien signals" emanating from space.