Scientists have releases a series of bizarre images that show what they believe aliens could really look like living on distant planets in harsh environments – and they’re not exactly what you’d expect.
The idea of aliens has fascinated our scientists for centuries but when we hear the word “alien” an instant image of those big eyes, a funny shaped head and skinny green or grey skinned body come to mind.
But scientists believe creatures that are adapted to living in harsher environments than earth probably don’t look anything like a biped and are more likely creatures covered with armour plating or even translucent skin and claws.
Research backed by Dr Brian Choo, from the School of Biological Sciences at Flinders University in Australia, created the bizarre images work with artist Steve Grice.
They paired the conditions in red dwarf solar systems with particular features needed by plants and animals to survive which may shine a little light on what life is really like beyond our planet Earth.
Last week astronomers detected more than seven Earth-sized worlds that orbit a cool dwarf star known as TRAPPIST-1 which is located in the constellation Aquarius. Planets orbiting such a star when in the “habitable zone” would create life that’s entirely different from our own.
Dr Choo specialises in how species are affected by environmental factors and suggests that aliens could need armoured plates and thick skin to protect them from harsh sun or winds and they’re likely going to need mouthes suitable for gathering nutrients growing between rocks and cracks.
With red dwarfs emitting far less radiation and light than our own sun, some life forms may even develop transparent skin, better at capturing as much light as possible.
Speaking about one armour-skinned creature, Dr Choo said: “This odd creature grazes on low growing lichen-like vegetation and digs for buried tubers.
“The low-slung body and armoured carapace permit it to forage during the blistering windstorms that scour the surface.
“The paddle like tail and vestigial fins betray an aquatic larval stage in the cool lakes at the edg of the melting dark-zone glaciers.”