Globular clusters: A possible site for intelligent life forms

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Globular Clusters: A Possible Site For Intelligent Life Forms?

The search for extraterrestrial life has led some scientists to examine globular clusters.

At a meeting of astronomers, Rosanne Di Stefano with the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics presented the argument that advanced life could potentially be found within such clusters.

According to Discovery News, "Globular clusters typically contain about 1 million stars in a region just 100 light years across."

The Milky Way, for example, has been found to contain about 150 of these clusters.

See more images of space:

Space junk, orbital debris
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Globular clusters: A possible site for intelligent life forms
Debris in low-Earth orbit. (Photo via ESA)
Currently, a thick band of levitating space junk — composed primarily of broken satellite pieces and discarded rocket boosters — skirts the Earth. Two or three times a day, a satellite circling our planet narrowly misses a torrent of the orbital debris. This phenomenon has jeopardized not only current space travelers, but future missions as well. (Photo via NASA)
The growing problem of space debris. (Photo via ESA)
Trackable objects in orbit around Earth. (Photo via ESA)
RETRANSMISSION of graphic that first moved Feb. 12, 2009; drawing shows debris in orbit around Earth
GRAPHIC - (CIRCA 1989): This National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) handout image shows a graphical representation of space debris in low Earth orbit. According to the European Space Agency there are 8,500 objects larger than 10 cm (approximately 3.9 inches) orbiting the earth and 150,000 larger than 1 cm (approximately 0.39 inches). NASA investigators are looking into the possibility that space debris may have caused the break up of the Space Shuttle Columbia upon reentry February 1, 2003 over Texas. (Photo by NASA/Getty Images)

And while these stars tend to be very old—many more than twice the age of our sun—the challenge is that they tend to lack the amount of heavy elements that typically form a planet and sustain life.

However, Di Stefano counters that exoplanets have been linked to stars that are relatively lighter in these components.

In fact, the longevity of these globular clusters could mean that life has time to develop into an intelligent form.

The close proximity of the stars also presents the opportunity for easier communication and even travel among these entities.

That said, finding planets in these clusters will likely be difficult considering their distance from Earth.

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