Aliens made of fart gas might be a real thing

Aliens made of fart gas might be a real thing

I’ve been reading science fiction for a really long time, but I’ve read it almost exclusively for the fiction, as I have zero understanding of science. But it has always struck me that, when scientists imagine other life forms, they assume that they would be carbon and water-based lifeforms like the ones found on earth. This has always struck me as strange. In an almost infinitely huge universe, shouldn’t there be a nearly infinite number of bases for life to form from?

Like, couldn’t life theoretically form from sentient evil? Couldn’t a particularly stinky cheese eventually gain self-awareness? Could not a fart learn how to play a piano?

This is why I am not a scientist. But this week, all of my dreams came true: scientists discovered that fart aliens could theoretically exist. I Fucking Love Science, a site that is much smarter than this one, explained it thusly:

Nearly all living organisms on Earth have water-based structures around their cells called phospholipid bilayers. These keep water in (or out), and they shelter the insides of our cells from the rest of the world. Now, according to a study based entirely on computer modeling, small molecules in oxygen-free environments may be capable of forming compartments that resemble these lipid membranes. The findings, published in Science Advances last week, suggests that life—but “not as we know it”—is possible on worlds without oxygen. They just have to be comprised of methane-based cells.

It is here that I want to note that methane gas among humans who are notchemists or scientists of any stripe (i.e. me) is most commonly noted as one of the main gases present in flatulence — indeed, methane is a greenhouse gas, and cow farts are one of the worst contributors to climate change. IFL Science continues:

Astronomers looking for signs of extraterrestrial life (and places where mankind might colonize one day) focus on the habitable zone, a narrow area around the sun where liquid water can exist. However, if cells weren’t based on water but on methane—which has a much lower freezing point—could “life” exist in extremely cold worlds like Saturn’s moon Titan? The giant moon is spotted with seas of liquid methane and has no oxygen available for the formation of a lipid bilayer membrane.

There you have it: just a few planets away is a moon that is covered in fart-based lifeforms. Yes, I know it’s a jump from “theoretically they could exist,” to “FART ALIENS! EVERYWHERE!” but to paraphrase Dr. Ian Malcolm: “Farts will find a way.”

Let’s all take a moment to appreciate what a spectacularly diverse and weird universe we live in. And, for the inevitable oncoming war of colonization between our planet and their moon, let’s begin investing in a GasX-based defense budget.

Featured photo by Mibrant2000

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