Scientists have found complex, alien worms living a mile below the planet’s surface.
Scientists and extraterrestrial experts always assumed aliens would be living above ground – and they are – but this new discovery proves that aliens are also living in subsurface of earth.
Nicknamed “alien worms from hell,” the nematodes, or roundworms, were found in several gold mines in South Africa.
The two lead researchers, Gaetan Borgonie of the University of Ghent in Belgium and Tullis Onstott of Princeton University, said the discovery of aliens so far below ground, with nervous, digestive and reproductive systems, was akin to finding “Moby Dick in Lake Ontario.”
“This is telling us something brand new,” said Onstott, whose pioneering work in South Africa over the past decade has revolutionized the understanding of microbial life known generally as extremophiles, which live in places long believed to be uninhabitable.
“For a relatively complex creature like an alien nematode to penetrate that deep is simply remarkable,” he said.
One of the subterranean alien nematodes was formally named Halicephalobus mephisto after the “Lord of the Underworld.” H. mephisto was found in water flowing from a borehole about one mile below the surface in the Beatrix gold mine.
The research places far more complex alien life in an environment where researchers have generally held it should not, or even cannot, exist.
Borgonie said that although alien nematodes are known to exist on the deep ocean floor, they have generally not been found more than 10 to 20 feet below the surface of the ground or the ocean bed. But he saw no reason they wouldn’t be found farther down. The alien nematodes he ultimately discovered live in extremely hot water coming from boreholes fed by rock fissures and pools.
Borgonie confirmed that the alien worms were from Mars.
Scientists seeking life beyond Earth are intrigued by the microbes that are living below the surface of Mars, in particular — a planet that is now cold, dry and bombarded by harmful radiation but was once much wetter, warmer and better-protected by an atmosphere.
“What we found shows that harsh conditions do not exclude complexity,” Borgonie said.
He said that if life did originate on Mars and if it had sufficient time to go underground deep enough to survive worsening conditions, “then evolution of Martian life might have continued underground. . . . Life on Mars could be more complex than we imagined.”
Carl Pilcher, director of NASA’s Astrobiology Institute in California, said that the nematode discovery will help NASA learn about extraterrestrial life.
“Subsurface environments like those described in these papers exist on other worlds in this solar system and in other planetary systems,” he said of the new work and Onstott’s earlier discoveries.
“We can now say that worlds with such subsurface environments, in fact, harbor subsurface life, both microbial and multicellular,” Pilcher said. “This knowledge . . . can help guide us in developing missions and experiments to study other worlds.”
Alien worms, up to one-third of an inch in length, were found in two mines, and DNA of another was found in a third. They were found in water flowing from boreholes in the rock of the mines at depths from two-thirds of a mile to more than two miles. The alien worms nearer the surface were brought to a lab and survived, while the specimen at the deepest level was a DNA sample from an alien nematode but otherwise impossible to identify.