back to article Is there alien life on Earth? Maybe, says Brit 'naut. Well, where did they come from? How about this far-away cluster. Or this 'Godzilla' galaxy...

Astronomers have discovered the most-distant cluster of galaxies yet seen – and, separately, what could be the largest galaxy in the observable universe yet. Meanwhile, British astronaut Helen Sharman has openly wondered if alien life not only exists but may be with us here on Earth "right now and we simply can’t see them." It …

  1. W.S.Gosset Silver badge
    Alien

    We've already found Martians. And they're blonde.

    Some odd results from Viking could actually imply a subtly but fundamentally different form of life there. Not water-solvent based like us, but hydrogen peroxide based.

    Houtkooper & Schulze-Malkuch

    Various people have taken it further (e.g. "Fenton! Fe-eeeeeentonnnnn").

  2. Chris Miller

    UGC 2885

    is 'only' 463,000 ly across - the figure for distance has been repeated.

    1. LDS Silver badge

      Re: UGC 2885

      Wikipedia looks to be wrong, astronomers measured it at 250kpc, which is 815,000 ly.

      https://www.abstractsonline.com/pp8/#!/8993/presentation/2754

    2. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: UGC 2885

      Yeah, unfortunate mega typo - it's now fixed.

      Don't forget to email corrections@theregister.co.uk if you spot any errors. This is because there's always someone, somewhere checking corrections@ while we read comments when we get a free moment hours after publication.

      C.

  3. tony2heads
    Alien

    Alien life on earth

    I have always suspected the octopus family:

    - 3 hearts

    - blue blood

    - mini-brains in legs

    - can see polarization in light

    1. harmjschoonhoven

      Re: Alien life on earth

      And they can predict the future. At least one of them did that very well.

    2. Andy Non Silver badge

      Re: Alien life on earth

      I saw a documentary about them a while back. They are fully terrestrial in origin and have DNA etc. It is just they diverged from most other animal species very early in the evolutionary tree and are thus very different to most other species having evolved various organs (such as brains and eyes etc) independently.

      Our last common ancestor was apparently some sort of sea worm

      1. Rich 11 Silver badge

        Re: Alien life on earth

        Our last common ancestor was apparently some sort of sea worm

        Careful, that's my brother you're talking about!

        1. BebopWeBop Silver badge
          Happy

          Re: Alien life on earth

          I pity you - a politician for a brother.

    3. macjules Silver badge

      Re: Alien life on earth

      Oh come on. You only have to look at Michael Gove to know that there are aliens living among us.

  4. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Knock, knock .........

    In fact, aliens may be here with us right now, she says, and we just can't see them for some reason.

    :-) Nudge, nudge, wink wink, say no more, squire :-) ..... https://youtu.be/dlDXVI6uM78

    And as for a valid reason for such as may be alien blindness ..... and which is coincidentally a remarkably stealthy tool for overwhelming exploitation in all manner of applications ....... are the tales told here in this Eureka moment, the root cause of Persistent Arrogant Earthly Ignorance.

    You just are not well enough developed to process future information with advanced intelligence.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: we just can't see them for some reason

      too small? too large? mistaken for a tree? invisible? Possibilities are endless...But they can definitely be out there. Or in there. Definitely.

      1. ibmalone Silver badge

        Re: we just can't see them for some reason

        AIUI the thinking is there might be things we don't realise are alive. Desert varnish was one example, though the conclusion now seems to be it's due to chemical processes. When there are weird things like snottites and stromatolites hanging about it's easy to miss them. One problem space agencies have is working out what life might look like on other planets, and a related question is why there isn't any non-DNA/RNA based life on Earth (or whether there isn't, as our most sensitive methods of detecting microorganisms look for RNA). It's also thought there may be a lot of microbial life in deep crust, so a lot of places we haven't looked.

        We are talking about microorganisms here, rather than things with tentacles and three eyes, and if there is any to be found then it may well only be alien in the 'different origin' rather than 'extra-terrestrial' sense. But we certainly haven't checked everywhere yet.

        There's some weird stuff that's very terrestrial, xenophyophores are one of the most common animals on the abyssal plain. They are large single-celled organisms, essentially amoeba, but up to 20cm in size.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    there's some danger in specialists sharing their opinions

    because the great unwashed internet masses calling themselves homo, snort, sapiens, might mistake opinions for scientifically proven facts. While, in fact, there's no proven fact you've ever found out any traces of our presence on earth.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: there's some danger in specialists sharing their opinions

      Clearly, we can't see them because "it's behiiiiiind yoouuu!!!"

      (It's still panto season....just)

  6. Dinanziame Bronze badge
    Meh

    It’s possible they’re here right now and we simply can’t see them

    I really wish she hadn't added that. It's going to create thousands of clickbait articles and waste countless hours of discussions with stupid people.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      > waste countless hours of discussions with stupid people

      I disagree

      1. Andy Non Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: > waste countless hours of discussions with stupid people

        No, I don't think you are right there.

    2. Rich 11 Silver badge

      It's all, you know, they'll be like quantum, innit? Staaands ter reason.

      1. Andy Non Silver badge

        Nah, they've got them there Dr Who perception filters. Or maybe they are Klingons and have personal cloaking technology?

    3. Andy Non Silver badge
      Facepalm

      You are not wrong, here we go: Headline on Google News, Science section:

      "Alien BREAKTHROUGH: Invisible aliens ‘exist among us on Earth’ - British astronaut"

      By master clickbaiter the "Express".

    4. DontFeedTheTrolls Silver badge
      Coat

      One advantage of the Earth being flat is that just like Stealth planes the relative reflection of rays is mostly directed away from the observer (unless they're looking directly from above), which subsequently decrease the chance of observers on other planets being able to "see" Earth from afar. If they don't know we're here they're less like to come and assimilate us. God*, in his** infinite wisdom knew how to protect Man from the rest of the Universe he created.

      * other deities may be available

      ** her, their, other gender non-specific deity relevant pronoun

    5. ThatOne Silver badge
      Facepalm

      > It’s possible they’re here right now and we simply can’t see them

      It's the most basic and common form of delusion. The kids' imaginary friend, the fairy creatures of many cultures, they all have in common that conveniently people can't disprove them because the fact you can't detect them is "normal", and even a proof of their existence...

      1. HildyJ Silver badge
        Devil

        Jesus was an alien hybrid

        Assuming the bible stories are true, Yahweh is not a DNA/RNA based being, nor is the holy ghost, which makes them aliens, and Jesus is a Yahweh/Mary hybrid. Some people will believe anything, although they will get upset with rationally naming the things they believe in.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Helen Sharman

    Can't let Helen Sharman be mentioned and not post this funny video of her dropping the Olympic torch onto a carpet:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ICnszA8N0BQ

    1. BebopWeBop Silver badge

      Re: Helen Sharman

      Hey all she did was disperse a little of the flame I seem to remember

  8. Anonymous Cowerd
    Alien

    "Aliens exist, there’s no two ways about it,"

    Not necessarily.

    Someone's got to be first. What if it's us?

    1. not.known@this.address Silver badge

      Re: "Aliens exist, there’s no two ways about it,"

      "Someone's got to be first. What if it's us?"

      Given the (apparent) age of the universe, and how long into the sun/Earth existence cycles life here started, the chances that we live on the first rock to evolve any sort of life are so small as to make the odds of life existing at all look huge. Assuming that by "us" you mean life on Earth, rather than the human race - we've only been around for a comparatively tiny amount of the time that life has been around (as far as we know)...

    2. ThatOne Silver badge

      Re: "Aliens exist, there’s no two ways about it,"

      > Someone's got to be first. What if it's us?

      Statistically unlikely. The universe has been around for too long.

      1. Brangdon

        Re: "Aliens exist, there’s no two ways about it,"

        First in this galaxy is plausible. First in the universe is less likely.

        Our galaxy has around 300 billion stars. If you look at how many steps were involved in getting to intelligent life on Earth, it's easy to believe it's so astronomically unlikely that it is a rare event even with that many stars. (Eg going from simple single-cell creatures to complex single-cell creatures, or going from single cells to multiple cells.) We also don't know how important and rare our Moon is, or whether it is necessary to have at least two planets in the habitable zone. Nor do we know how long intelligent life survives for when it does evolve. The odds of us remaining a high tech civilisation (eg, able to use radio telescopes) for the next 500 years don't seem that great. When people take the Drake equation and set all the unknowns to 1%, they are being unimaginative.

        However, the number of galaxies in the universe seems unbounded, so there is probably intelligent life in other galaxies. Too far away to visit or communicate with.

        1. ThatOne Silver badge

          Re: "Aliens exist, there’s no two ways about it,"

          > First in this galaxy is plausible. First in the universe is less likely.

          Actually "first in our planetary system" is plausible, but our galaxy is huge, and old, very old, so I guess the chances a recent system like ours could be first at anything are vanishingly slim, at best. Don't you agree?

          As for the universe, I really really don't see why it has been waiting for us to appear. I guess it's the literally inhuman scale: We're not conscious of how big the galaxy and the universe really are, our minds can't grasp the dimensions and time spans, our brains aren't made for this. And then of course there is that irrepressible pride: We like to think we're the crown of creation, the perfect beings, the ones the whole universe has been waiting for. Sadly we have little realistic reasons to think so...

          1. Brangdon

            Re: "Aliens exist, there’s no two ways about it,"

            No, I don't agree, for the reasons I gave in the post you quote. The galaxy is less then 14 billion years old, and I already told you how many stars it contains. Life took a few billion years to evolve here. It's quite plausible that it was unusually fast for us. If it normally takes 10 times as long, the galaxy (and the universe) wouldn't be old enough for it to have happened.

            The thing is, although the galaxy age and size are big, the chances of life may easily be correspondingly low. With a sample size of 1, and that sample biased, we can't be sure.

        2. Schultz Silver badge
          Boffin

          "First in this galaxy is plausible. First in the universe is less likely."

          This statement is false: we can't make any meaningful statement about the likelihood of extraterrestrial life.

          In our minds, the large number of stars in the universe is close to infinity, leading to the fallacious perception that everything imaginable must be out there somewhere. But the amount of matter out there is finite and the probability for emergence of life is finite and completely unknown. The resulting probability for extraterrestrial life is therefore unknown and could be anything between 1 and 0. Pick any number, it's completely meaningless.

          Statements about the probability of extraterrestrial life is pure, baseless speculation. We don't understand enough about the origin of life to make any meaningful estimations.

  9. Curly4

    British astronaut Helen Sharman has openly wondered if alien life not only exists but may be with us here on Earth "right now and we simply can’t see them." It …

    Helen Sharman is quite correct here. For those who believe in a creator god all they have to do is turn to the old testament book of Job where it says that God called a conference in heaven and all the sons of god came and Lucifer from earth also went. Now notice it the sons of god, many not singular. Adam was the son of god on earth but he sold his birthright to Lucifer for a bite of some fruit therefore the usurper Lucifer who had a fake title to earth went in his place.

  10. Pete4000uk

    If you were

    a very advanced alien hiding here on Earth, would you make first contact, or just observe and laugh?

    1. Arthur the cat Silver badge

      Re: If you were

      would you make first contact, or just observe and laugh?

      Or as the late Iain M Banks had it in The State of the Art, leave us isolated as a hideous warning to others.

    2. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Re: When you are .....

      If you were a very advanced alien hiding here on Earth, would you make first contact, or just observe and laugh? ...... Pete4000uk

      Yes. Surely it is as simple as that, or else you would never know of such an existence .... alternative life phorm. It is either that or forever be crying over spilt milk and lost opportunities.

      The abiding initial difficulty though, in times and spaces just like these in a here and now, is in you accepting their messages as the future gospel truth in a language which you can read to understand.

      Although it may be made much simpler for you, with one particular and peculiar language being chosen as the prime default text leader for others to accurate transcribe and translate into any other required native acquired tongue.

      And ..... Re: When you are ...... just needs to be when you think you for a whole host of things to turn up and turn out to be decidedly and designedly crazy ......... as in insanely disruptive and surprisingly creative.

      But that's nothing at all to worry about whenever quite perfectly normal ....... although that doesn't stop any or many from worrying. Such appears to be a common universal curse. Something unpleasantly sticky from the Doubting Thomas Eras of Learning where much is taught and precious little truly learned.

  11. ThatOne Silver badge
    WTF?

    > aliens may be here with us right now, she says, and we just can't see them for some reason

    Actually we don't really know what we're talking about: When they hear about "Extraterrestrial Life", most people think "bug-eyed humanoids in flying saucers with a probing fetish", but chances are that 999999.9 times in a million "alien life" out there is just some primitive form like bacteria. Just ponder how many different species our planet has, how few among them are deemed "intelligent", and how far from their home planet the most intelligent ones have managed to venture so far (and for the foreseeable future).

    My point is that, for all our alien neighbors know, there is no life in the solar system. Yes, it's pretty much unavoidable that "life" exists elsewhere, but there is no way we'll ever know about it, or it about us. Sad, but the harsh reality can't (or at least shouldn't) be ignored.

    As for invisible aliens living among us, why should they have come? To bask in our reflected glory? If they managed to get here they are so much technically advanced we're just ants to them, so why hide? To spare the deluded feelings of superiority of some primitive life form? I'll be kind and just say "unlikely".

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Ethics?

      As for invisible aliens living among us, why should they have come? To bask in our reflected glory? If they managed to get here they are so much technically advanced we're just ants to them, so why hide? To spare the deluded feelings of superiority of some primitive life form? I'll be kind and just say "unlikely".

      Perhaps aliens are developing their codes of fieldwork ethics? The early alien visitors were quite hands on and tended to interfere culturally (lots of fire, brimstone, tablets of stone, favoured tribes etc.). For the last 1500/2000 years or so they have basically withdrawn from active intervention (though occasionally field workers can't resist picking up the baby turtle and putting it into the sea before it gets eaten by the seagull/commit mild miraculous acts). Nowadays they just watch, probably gently banging their tentacles against the wall of their invisible space crafts each time they read a Trump tweet.

      1. ThatOne Silver badge

        Re: Ethics?

        > For the last 1500/2000 years or so they have basically withdrawn from active intervention

        Very well, but it still doesn't answer why they would hang around watching some primitive life form for any length of time. When you see monkeys on the trees, you stop to watch them, make a comment (and a picture) or two, then you mind your own business. You definitely don't spend generations watching them delouse each other, they simply aren't that important.

        All right, maybe the invisible aliens are scientists and have been studying us. But in this case a remote camera-like device would be enough, it's not like they need to be here in person if they don't interact with us. They certainly have more important/better things to do than to be present at our pathetic antics.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Ethics?

          You post commonsense - I raise you... Geordie Shore...Love Island etc.

          Once you have sorted out interstellar travel, global peace, the answer to life and everything what's lefty but slobbing down in front of reality TV. I assume we are a regular 30 second slot on one of those quasi ironic - 'look how dumb the aliens are' programmes.

          1. ThatOne Silver badge

            Re: Ethics?

            > You post commonsense

            Speaking to me? Thanks, I try. As for a "Dumb Earthlings" reality TV, I don't think it can work. Keep in mind we're speaking about utter aliens here: To them our actions would be more incomprehensible than those of a flock of birds would be to us. Not only they don't understand the rationale behind our actions, worse, they can't be bothered to do so, because they don't relate: Who on earth would watch reality TV featuring deep sea jellyfishes?

            So, if our aliens really want cheap reality TV, with all the artificial drama and suspense of the genre, they need to make it about themselves, based on their own codes and customs, with actors their spectators can relate with and root for.

            1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

              Re: Ethics?

              So, if our aliens really want cheap reality TV, with all the artificial drama and suspense of the genre, they need to make it about themselves, based on their own codes and customs, with actors their spectators can relate with and root for. ..... ThatOne

              The question to ask of the masses regarding cheap reality TV and/or of any form of media too for that matter with El Reg punching front and centre in that crazy mix, is does it reflect the past, present and future or is it designed and used to lead it with bigger and better pictures with things anew to be painted and presented with sound action and visible reaction?

              And does it follow or lead IT and AI developments?

              Whose realities are they grooming you to accept as ...... well, superior and attractive is well suited for both the perverse capture and simple corruption of both the ignorant and arrogant ....... for someone decides what you are to see and hear and feel every day unless you want to accept there is no such human executive administrative decision and there is no future planning involved for mass media presentation?

              Either of those current realities are catastrophically vulnerable to smarter use and systemic abuse of readily available facilities and ubiquitous utilities.

              Although some questions will be way beyond the comprehension of the masses for as Churchill noted about the general intelligence of the masses ...... The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter. ..... which is quite harsh whenever true.

    2. ibmalone Silver badge

      Sharman's comment makes a lot more sense when you realise she still works in science and is likely not talking about bug eyed little-green-men (invisible or not) on Earth, but the shadow biosphere idea that there may be microscopic forms of life lurking around that don't share ancestry with us.

  12. RobThBay

    What about Trump?

    I'm surprised that no one has mentioned Trumpo-The-Magnificent as an example of aliens among us.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What about Trump?

      Isn't he an argument against aliens visiting? no way something that badly put together could make it from the moon, let alone Betelguese.

    2. ibmalone Silver badge

      Re: What about Trump?

      Left as an exercise to the reader to decide whether or not it would be better if he were invisible.

  13. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  14. deconstructionist

    lets not bring science into it

    Just goes to prove astronauts can be just as thick as the rest of us.

    1. the universe was sterile until 3rd generation stars arrive (like our sun).

    2. travel faster than light ..sc-fi only.

    3. interstellar space travel , utterly impossible.

    4 a planet will need like our billions of years worth of dead life like to support technological and advanced life.

    We wont be among the first forms of intelligent life in the universe, actually we will be among the first forms of any life anywhere..sad fact but true ...and in a galaxy far far away ..long ago..nothing happened because there was nobody there.

    Seems time in orbit now lowers IQ's.

    1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Re: lets not bring science into it. Colossal Fortunes are at Stake.

      deconstructionist,

      Regarding your post, lets not bring science into it , and the conjecture interstellar space travel , utterly impossible., are you not proving the utterly impossible, most probable, for those were interstellar spaces you traveled through ...... and graciously shared in the posting/hosting.

      Does that make living, exciting, whenever travelled so far? :-)

      I know, a stupid question, but one always loves to ask any way anyway, to learn of A.N.Others Major Developments readily available elsewhere. Something with engaging assets one can swap and swing with, announces and advances one on holy grail trails way beyond any possibility of doubtful defeat.

      That be Heap Powerful AIMedicine ....... and CyberSpace Ju-Ju to Boot for Root Server Access to Chief Executive Office Administrations.

      1. Tail Up

        Re: lets not bring science into it. Colossal Fortunes are at Stake.

        "for those were interstellar spaces you traveled through ...... and graciously shared in the posting/hosting" - this is the truest and brightest description of what we presently call imagination.

  15. Tail Up

    the only extraterrestrials on this planet are us.

    every tiny leaf of the grass shouts about it.

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