Australian scientists say they've figured out why we've been unable to detect signs of alien life. And for those who dream of someday meeting up with a real-life E.T., it's a pretty depressing reason.
In a paper published this week in the journal Astrobiology, the researchers hypothesize that alien life forms may well have arisen many times in many different places, but were quickly snuffed out when extreme heating or cooling rendered their host planets uninhabitable.
"Early life is fragile, so we believe it rarely evolves quickly enough to survive," Aditya Chopra, an astrobiologist at Australian National University in Canberra and lead author of the paper, said in a written statement. In other words, it succumbs to temperature extremes long before it has a chance to evolve beyond the microbe level.
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