It may not be alive, but Pluto’s seen its fair share of ups and downs. Its demotion from planet status has long since been noted — though to compensate, it helped create a new class of planets called plutoids. Still, with the New Horizons spacecraft well in Pluto’s reach, there may be plenty of reasons to give the former planet the respect it deserves. According to new evidence, Pluto might be the home to the oft-sought alien life.
New Horizons’ returned photos have shown that Pluto plays host to flowing ice and underground waters — and on top of that, entire mountains of ice. That’s to be expected from something so far from the sun, but the important thing is that there is water in one form or another. UK physicist Brian Cox argues that — based on precedents on Earth — water is a precursor to life, even if it’s found on the edges of the solar system. Based on New Horizons’ results, Pluto’s not wanting for H2O.
To be fair, it’s not as if Earth will have any visitors anytime soon, least of all because of the distance from Pluto. New Horizons has only just started its survey after a nine year trip, and even then it’s still a fair distance away. On top of that, the assumption is that Pluto’s residents are single-celled organisms, not full-blown creatures. But while the search for intelligent life may continue for a while yet, if there are lifeforms nestled in Pluto’s folds, then it could jumpstart a whole new wave of discoveries.