Have you ever wondered if aliens actually exist? Every now and then rumors emerge about scientists finding evidence of life on other planets, but such stories disappear as fast as they appear. Wonder why? We do too, but so far there’s been no satisfactory answer to this question.
Till today, there’s no official word by any reliable authority regarding this controversial topic. Maybe the scientists do not want to comment on a subject that holds such a vast public interest without having enough data to back their claims. Another reason might be that they have learned their lessons from the fate of their predecessors. Past theories suggesting the existence of extraterrestrial lives have been rejected or ignored because the astronomers who made such declarations failed to prove their hypothesis.
If you are interested in finding out what events led the researchers to think about such a possibility and why were these scientific claims then rejected, read some of these theories below:
Network of canals
During the 1800s, astronomers` interest in viewing space objects escalated due to the improvement in technology, which resulted in bigger telescopes and better photography techniques. Amongst the many motivated space scientists, was an Italian astronomer Giovanni Schiaparelli who announced that he spotted canal-like channels linking the dark and light areas of Mars? He assumed that these dark and light areas were the oceans and continents. Following this, an American astronomer Percival Lowell backed these claims by saying that he too viewed numerous similar canals as described by Schiaparelli. In fact, he even came up with an extension of the idea and presented the view that these canals were purposely built by Martians (a name that he gave to inhabitants of the planet) so as to transfer water from polar caps to equatorial regions.
Lowell was so confident of his perceived theory that he wrote an entire series of books revolving around his idea. However, the truth is that no canals or channels exist on Mars. This leads us to the question that what was it that these two individuals then viewed through their telescopes. NASA has answered this question for us.
The answer is that it was actually NOTHING!
It is the tendency of the human eye to view patterns which do not even exist. If you are confused, let us explain that the human eye is designed to connect distant, unclear spots with straight lines such that it appears to be a pattern. This has been proven via various tests and experiments and probably the reason why these two astronomers saw the channels.
The “Wow” signal
In view of an unexpected radio signal that was captured on 15th August 1977 at Ohio State, an astronomer named Jerry Ehman concluded that it was a sign from intelligent aliens. He referred to this signal as the “Wow Signal” because that’s what the astronomer instantly wrote on the printout when it was first handed to him. The signal was stronger than anything that followed or preceded it and lasted for 72 seconds.
Information from this signal could not be decoded due to lack of any modulation. Such short-term radio signals are called transient signals, which are now a common occurrence and hence raise little hue and cry.
Though the exact reason for these transient signals is unknown, linking them to any extraterrestrial activity requires sufficient evidence that has not been found yet. Therefore, this possibility cannot be claimed with surety – at least for the time being.
Methane emitting microorganisms on Mars
NASA has discovered the occasional presence of methane gas on Mars. This news has caused many to jump to the conclusion that the planet is warming up, which could be considered as a sign of life. There have even been rumors that methane emitting microorganisms exist on Mars that have been dormant till now, but are slowly waking up.
Critics of extraterrestrial life argue that there can be many other explanations for the seasonal presence of this gas such as a chemical reaction resulting from high temperatures. Therefore, nothing can be said for sure as of right now. However, the truth will be revealed soon as NASA’s research to discover the source of this methane is currently being carried out and hopefully soon, we’ll know about the authenticity of alien claims.
The presence of Martian microorganisms in Allan Hills meteorite
Debris or asteroids from outer space sometimes passes through the atmosphere and lands on Earth. Such pieces of foreign objects are referred to as meteorites. Allan Hills meteorite is a fragment from Mars that was discovered in the Allan Hills of Antarctica, hence the name Allan Hills meteorite. Dissecting and viewing it with a microscope revealed the presence of what looked like microorganisms.
However, claims of life on Mars emerging from this idea have been rejected by expert mineralogists. They make a valid point by claiming that objects such as magnetite crystals which can be mistaken as a sign of life can be artificially created in controlled laboratory conditions. Therefore, morphology cannot be used as evidence to confirm the presence of aliens.
There are various other theories that can be used to indicate the presence of extraterrestrial lives. However, lack of any concrete proof means that believing them would be believing an abstract idea. Though most of us feel excited at the thought of alien existence and can’t wait to interact with our interplanetary friends, right now we can only hope that when that day comes, we are still alive to witness it.