An artist's rendition of a cloudy super-Earth. Scientists suspect that alien life could potentially thrive on an alien planet by subsisting on "supercritical" carbon dioxide instead of water. (NASA, ESA, & G. Bacon/STScI, STScI-PRC14-06)
Alien life might flourish on an exotic kind of carbon dioxide, researchers say. This "supercritical" carbon dioxide, which has features of both liquids and gases, could be key to extraterrestrial organisms much as water is to biology on Earth.