— -- Several features on a comet being explored by the European Space Agency's Philae lander indicate it could be home to alien life, according to two astronomers.
While the comet has a black crust darkening much of its surface, astronomers have spotted evidence that 67P has an underlying icy structure, including icy seas and craters containing frozen lakes with organic debris.
The findings from Max Wallis and Chandra Wickramasinghe will be presented today at the Royal Astronomical Society's national meeting in Wales. The astronomers said evidence from the comet points to the possibility it could be home to micro-organisms.
“Five hundred years ago it was a struggle to have people accept that the Earth was not the center of the universe," Wickramasinghe said, according to The Guardian. "After that revolution our thinking has remained Earth-centered in relation to life and biology. It's deeply ingrained in our scientific culture and it will take a lot of evidence to kick it over."
Philae made history on Nov. 12 when it landed on the speeding comet, marking the culmination of a 10-year, 4-billion-mile journey to the comet by hitching a ride with the Rosetta spacecraft.
The solar-powered lander lost contact with Earth on Nov. 15 -- 60 hours after it landed on the speeding comet, bounced and came to a final resting place in a shady area lacking the necessary sunlight to keep the lander alive.
As the comet got closer to the sun, Philae awoke last month and sent an 85-second transmission to Earth.