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Scientists discuss invisible alien life on Earth

On Monday, April 22, HuffPost Live featured a segment about theoretical invisible life that could exist on Earth. This segment, titled “Earth’s Alien Life,” featured HuffPost Senior Science Editor David Freeman, University of Colorado, Boulder Professor of Philosophy Carol Cleland, Arizona State University theoretical physicist and astrobiologist Paul Davies, University of Massachusetts-Amherst Associate Professor of English David Toomey, and was hosted by HuffPost Live‘s Josh Zepps.

HuffPost Live's segment about alien life on Earth. (Credit: HuffPost)

HuffPost Live’s segment about alien life on Earth. (Credit: HuffPost)

Carol Cleland and her colleague Shelley Copley coined the term “shadow bioshpere” in a 2006 paper in the International Journal of Astrobiology to describe the possible invisible life on our planet. According to the Guardian, Cleland explains, “On Earth we may be co-inhabiting with microbial lifeforms that have a completely different biochemistry from the one shared by life as we currently know it.” The Guardian explains that this theory is supported by many other scientists, including astrobiologists Chris McKay at NASA’s Ames Research Center and Paul Davies.

The Guardian points out:

If it turns out we have failed to realise that we have been sharing a planet with these shadowy lifeforms for eons, despite all the scientific advances of the 19th and 20th centuries, then we may need to think again about the way we hunt for life on other worlds. Robot spacecraft – such as the Mars rover Curiosity – are certainly sophisticated. But what chance do they have of detecting alien entities if the massed laboratories of modern science have not yet spotted them on our own planet?

Life as we know it is what astrobiologists look for in the search for extraterrestrial life. But if an alternative form of life on Earth is discovered, it would clearly impact the search for life on other worlds. On the HuffPost Live segment, Cleland explains:

Professor Carol Cleland. (Credit: CU Boulder)

Professor Carol Cleland. (Credit: CU Boulder)

It’s certainly a lot easier to search for it on Earth than it is on Mars because we have all kinds of tools and technologies available for looking for it, whereas we have to design them especially and haul them to Mars to look for unfamiliar life on Mars. So if there’s the possibility that such life exists on Earth, and I think, theoretically, there’s no reason at this time to dismiss it, then it makes much more sense, and I think it’s much more likely we would detect it here on Earth. The problem, of course, is the signal for extant life on Earth is so strong that we have to figure out ways of recognizing unfamiliar life and discriminating them from familiar life. And that’s the really hard part.

Scientists have proposed possible methods for detecting this “weird life,” but until it is detected, the shadow biosphere remains an interesting theory.

Watch the HuffPost Live segment at the top of this post.

About Jason McClellan

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Jason McClellan is an editor and staff writer for Open Minds magazine. Jason is also the producer and co-host of the web series Spacing Out!, web content manager and staff writer for OpenMinds.tv, and co-organizer and technical producer of the International UFO Congress. ------ Follow Jason on Twitter @acecentric and subscribe to Jason's updates on Facebook at Facebook.com/jason.openminds

10 comments

  1. avatar

    This is a rather interesting topic; however, no evidence has been found yet. I co-teach an undergraduate astrobiology course and we have a section on this topic. I recently read Dr. Toomey’s book “Weird Life” and I reviewed it in my blog. if you are interested, I can send you the link. The book is rather good. I will probably assign thw book to my students this coming semester… Thanks for the post!

  2. avatar

    I really don’t know what to make of this idea. Why postulate something for which you have no evidence whatsoever? And if it does exist, how do expect to detect it? This is certainly “out there”. I have no problem with suppositions, but unless you can detect the life chemically, by an energy signature, or some other means, it seems ridiculous to publish anything about the topic.

  3. avatar

    SOS – SOS – NASA has already found other life on Earth in the atmosphere, giant spheres that when hit with aircraft, deposit moisture on the plane. NASA etimates that these forms like are distributed throughout the solar system, and perhaps the galaxy. Then there are the rods that have been photographed at high speend in the atmosphere, and go through walls and other physical objects. Next is the small spheres of light associated with crop circles, and seen outside of the space shuttle and international space station. And what about the shadow people that walk on Earth..

  4. avatar

    They aren’t aliens dumbass they are demons!

  5. avatar
    Kendall Ray Morgan

    For anyone who is interested I have hard evidence that proves this to be true. Only the serious science minded should inquire. thanks for posting this story.

  6. avatar

    Oh so in other words, scientists believing in the possibility of invisible microbial life forms with zero proof is perfectly acceptable, but believing that larger unseen humanoid-size beings and their interdimensional crafts may be coexisting in our world is just crazy talk. Am I getting that right? These unseen creatures can only be so large, otherwise they are a fairy tale. Right then.

  7. avatar

    I am very surprised that no one mentioned the Roswell Rods.
    there is video evidence and documentary support of this near invisible form of life , found only recently, that we should try harder to understand.

  8. avatar

    Fascinating topic. On Coast to Coast a few years back a recurring guest from the Seattle area had an encounter while hiking on the Pass with his dog Sandy. A longhaired retriver. They had hiked a few miles back up a trail deep into the forest when Sandy began barking and growling at something. She was a ways ahead of her master. He grabbed a long piece of wood, thinking it might be a bear, and ran ahead to see hs dog had this “creature” about 4 feet tall, by the arm. Attached to this arm was a bracelet type device that it kept trying to “use” with it’s other hand. When it managed to hit the bracelet the creature would phase in and out of sight. The dog had a grip on the edge of the bracelet and the arm. The creature wasn’t able to become invisible to him or the dog. The story continues…. but my point here is that I think these ‘visitors” are here and have the ability to change their “frequency” to be seen or not. There are those that talk about watching the skies at night with high level, high tech night vision goggles and are seeing some amazing things in the night sky. Advances in light and energy frequencies may hold some of the answers we seek.

    I have seen a couple of the rods footages too. It’s really amazing. These things go through walls, people, everything. There hasn’t been an answer as to what they are either. Again, it could go back to frequency… Very interesting world we live in. So much we don’t know about it.

  9. avatar
    The Source Of It All

    I know what I’m about to say sounds like something a complete nut would come out with but if there’s one thing this world has shown me is nothing is impossible! NOTHING!!!
    KR Spencer, the story that you mentioned made me & my brother both feel slightly sick! One night I was with a bunch of friends and my brother, must of been about 10 of us in total. We were having some beers ontop of this hill at the back end of the village we grew up in. The sky was starting to get dark & as we looked out over the other hills & mountains on the horizon this bright light appeared out the blue! At first we thought nothing of it but as we noticed the distance it was covering & the way it was moving we all got quite interested with this light. All of a sudden the light started to get brighter & brighter, untill at one point we thought it was some kind of craft that had caught fire. Gradually the light went back to it’s original size & brightness. As it went along the Campsie Hills we noticed the time it was taking to go from one end of the hills to the other was unnaturally fast. No helicopter or jet could move that fast or perform manuvers like that never mind generate a light that bright. Some of us could even swear we seen the light shoot extremely thin beams of light at the ground below it as it moved along the hillside! Almost like a laser beam I’d say. But very faint.
    Then the light started to get brighter again like it had burst into flames before just vanishing into thin air! We were all stunned at what we had just witnessed & our mind started running wild, as you could imagine! Anyway we continued to drink & talk about what we had just seen. Some people who were with us seemed very uneasy to say the least. After the beer we decided to start walking back down the hill & tell the rest of our friends & family what we had just saw. Suprise suprise alot of our friends either thought we were miss identifying some kind of astronomical phenonoma or just making the whole thing up.
    Regardless, we told what we had witnessed & went about the rest of the night. We were coming out the pub & for some reason we wanted to go drink some more beers & smoke some cigarettes ontop of another smaller hill at the front end of the village. We sat up the top of the hill laughing & talking about the light phenonoma we had seen earlier that night. Suddenly my brother whispers quietly for us to ssshhh! As we stop talking we all became aware of heavy breathing coming from some tall grass infront of us. Id like to point out it was a full moon so even for 1 o clock in the morning it was really bright. At first we thought we had stumbled onto a couple of doggers or swingers & even joked about it hoping to get a response from them. But nothing! Just the steady, real heavy breathing. So me & my brother went forward to investigate, but once we got to the grass there was nothing. The breathing at this point had moved down the hill infront of us but nobody had seen anything move, what so ever! Nor did they heard any movement through the grass or footsteps! But me & my brother still pushed on in search of whatever was making this extremely noticeable breathing! It was almost like it was letting itself be known to us, whatever the hell it was! Bareing in mind we’ve not seen anything & are hopping that if we can get it to cross the clearing before the river then well see whatever is making the breathing. So we march ahead, following the sound as it moved through the grass towards the river. But it suddenly stopped & as we stand quietly touching shoulders one of my friends loudly whispers down to us to come back & that he’s starting to “freak out”. As soon as he was done the breathing started straight up again except this time right next to me & my brother! We both panic & start throwing our arms around hoping to hit something but all we get is air. Once we steady our nerves we notice that the breathing has moved away from us again & is going for the river. So while holding onto one another’s arm we headed straight for the sound. But as we get closer to it & the clearing before the river we both are aware we’ve still no idea what it could be. All our bravery was in vain, I feel, as when we got to the clearing, nothing! Another thing I’d like to point out is the grass never parted once as you would expect from something passing through it. Anyway we stood at the clearing thinking maybe it was still in the grass and we passed it without noticing. But as we stood on the path next to the river facing the grass plain the breathing started up, behind us! Except it had some how crossed the clearing right infront of us without any of us seeing it, which was about 10 ft wide! Not only that but the breathing was over the other side of the river! And it had crossed a 20 ft river without making a splash! Not one!!!!
    That was the point I got really scared. It honestly felt like it wanted us to follow it just so it could make itself known, as mad as that sounds! The breathing we were hearing was so loud & directional it wasn’t trying to hide anyway that’s for sure! So needless to say that’s when me & my brothers bravery went into hiding! We both felt like whatever it was it was looking right at us & now it knew WE were the ones running scared!!! So we sprinted right along the path & up to the hill where we had left my two friends, who by this point were not at all happy with us! But another scary thing is once we were back ontop of the hill which took about 30 seconds, TOPS! The breathing was right back at the bushy grass we had all heard it the first time. That was when we all started to freak out & sprint like our lives depended on it!
    Anyway we all thought maybe we had just witnessed a ghost of some kind, for when we got back we went online & looked up invisible breathing, which most sites point to paranormal “ghosts” in otherwords. It wasn’t till I witnessed the strange light phenonoma again 2 years later that I thought about the first time I saw the light & remembered about the heavy invisible breathing. It was only then that I thought perhaps the light was linked???!!!
    Well iv been looking into UFO’s & every subject that I feel is strongly linked to it! Including religion! Which let’s face it, if it wasn’t for various religious beliefs the concept of “ghosts” etc probably wouldnt exist. So I leave you to think that perhaps there is more to this world than we can see or even touch? Who knows, anyway I would very much like other people to comment on what I have just spoke of. As long as it’s reasonable & rational thinking! Can’t be arsed with religious nuts! Keep your preachy, arrogant & naive opinions for somebody who’s weak minded enough to listen to them! As somebody who has studied parts of all the main religions I can be very open minded & can see mainy points to be made positive & negative from them all. Don’t start with the angry hate filled nonsense! It’s nobody’s fault but your own if you choose to walk that path!

  10. avatar

    Semi-transparent and crystalline like material electric blue color almost glowing with a yellowish to white outline. Looked like waves of water or even a mirage inside this bubble type protection bubble.
    An interesting statement of what I had seen July 2013. While driving in a shady part of a forest where the sun peeks in between the trees on highway 26 in the gold country of CA, I saw something I truly believe that I was not meant to see. I saw 3 aliens, the first one ran across the road, I saw him he was holding something like a book. I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me, and then a 2nd and 3rd one ran out. Now I know I saw something. Strange thing is they all 3 seemed to come from the same spot off the road and ran across the road while I was driving, but I never got any closer. I did not see the feet or even it touching the ground, I could see the shape of the faces and body’s. These things were 3 different sizes. I have seen many strange things, I am special like this, but I have NEVER seen anything like this before. I want to tell everyone what I saw and let people know, we truly are not alone, they are just trying to hide from us.

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