Talk about life on other planets is more speculation than fact. The only life we know is the life on our own planet. And so far, scientists haven't discovered any other Earth-like planets, which means no homes for Earth-like life.
We do know that life on Earth has adapted to fill just about every environment. Since conditions on the known planets in other star systems are quite different from those on Earth, any life on those planets is likely to have adapted to some environments that are quite different from Earth, too.
Most of the planets discovered so far are giant balls of gas.
Some scientists have speculated that life on these worlds would adapt to float through the atmosphere. Such life might look like jellyfish, kept aloft by bags filled with hydrogen or helium. Other organisms might look like sails or kites, and glide on the winds. And simple organisms that are similar to algae might capture nutrients from the atmosphere, and use light from the parent star to convert them to energy.
One planet where we might look for such life is in the system 14 Herculis. It's about 60 light-years away in Hercules, which passes high overhead this evening.
The parent star is a lot like the Sun. The planet itself is at least five times as massive as Jupiter, and it's so far from the star that it's pretty cold. But who knows? In a few centuries, a probe might drop into its clouds, and turn the speculation about life on other worlds into reality.
Script by Damond Benningfield, Copyright 2008
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