Deep sea vents provide practice for SETI alien life searches

The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) has received a NASA grant to fund a new project called In-situ Vent Analysis Divebot for Exobiology Research (InVADER).

Some of the most intriguing possibilities for finding life outside Earth are on water worlds like Europa or Enceladus — ocean moons orbiting Jupiter and Saturn, writes Korey Haynes for Discovery magazine’s website. However, those worlds are encased in layers of ice, meaning any ocean exploration will take place far beneath the surface, Haynes writes. .

According to the article, these deep-sea zones on our Earth teem with life. That life is most often found near hydrothermal vents and the cracks in the seafloor release heat and chemicals that fuel intense biozones far from any sunlight, Haynes writes.

InVADER, what an ominous name, will explore deep-sea vents on Earth in preparation for the day that scientists can send a similar craft out into the solar system to explore alien oceans and their own hydrothermal vents.

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