Two leading Astronomers have claimed they have "unequivocal" proof of alien life on a comet carrying European Space Agency probes.
They say the Philae probe dropped by mothership Rosetta onto the 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko comet in November, has sent back information from which computer simulations suggest microbes could inhabit the comet's watery regions.
Astronomer and astrobiologist Professor Chandra Wickramasinghe and his University of Cardiff associate Dr. Max Wallis, said the comet appears to have a black hydrocarbon crust lying over ice and flat bottomed craters that contain re-frozen water overlaid with organic debris.
Prof Wickramasinghe said: "What we're saying is that data coming from the comet seems to unequivocally, in my opinion, point to micro-organisms being involved in the formation of the icy structures, the preponderance of aromatic hydrocarbons, and the very dark surface,” he said. “ These are not easily explained in terms of prebiotic chemistry.The dark material is being constantly replenished as it is boiled off by heat from the Sun. Something must be doing that at a fairly prolific rate.”
He said Rosetta, the European spacecraft orbiting the comet, had also picked up strange "clusters" of organic material that resembled viral particles.
Unfortunately neither Rosetta or Philae have equipment that could search for direct evidence of life despite Professor Chandra Wickramasinghe having pushed for this in the planning stages of the Rosetta mission.
"I wanted to include a very inexpensive life-detection experiment. At the time it was thought this was a bizarre proposition."
He and Dr Wallis believe 67P could provide environments for living microbes similar to "extremophiles" that survive in inhospitable areas of Earth, such as in the Marianas trench or under Antarctica.
Presently the comet is approximately 176.7 million miles from Earth, travelling faster than at more than 73,000 mph.