Life flourishes in seemingly impossible conditions on our planet, so why would it not do so on other worlds as well?
This time they have set their hopes on brown dwarf stars. An article in Science says:
“There’s an abundant new swath of cosmic real estate that life could call home—and the views would be spectacular. Floating out by themselves in the Milky Way galaxy are perhaps a billion cold brown dwarfs, objects many times as massive as Jupiter but not big enough to ignite as a star. According to a new study, layers of their upper atmospheres sit at temperatures and pressures resembling those on Earth, and could host microbes that surf on thermal updrafts.”
“The idea expands the concept of a habitable zone to include a vast population of worlds that had previously gone unconsidered. ‘You don’t necessarily need to have a terrestrial planet with a surface,’ says Jack Yates, a planetary scientist at the University of Edinburgh in the United Kingdom, who led the study.”
The next step is a digression into science fiction: Inspired by Carl Sagan’s idea of an ecosystem in Jupiter’s atmosphere, they envision microbes floating around in hydrogen gas.
The article mentions that the idea is speculative. and that certainly is no understatement. No form of life can float around anywhere if it does not come into existence first.