CONSTELLATION HYDRA—Dashing the hopes of those among them who believed the faraway world would surely prove habitable, astronomers from the Terxus II star system announced Thursday that a recently discovered planet remarkably like their own is in fact completely hostile to life.
According to scientists from the advanced alien civilization, despite possessing liquid water and a position just the right distance from its sun, the bluish-green terrestrial planet they have named RP-26 cannot sustain life due to its eroding landmasses, rapidly thinning atmosphere, and increasingly harsh climate.
“Theoretically, this place ought to be perfect,” leading Terxus astrobiologist Dr. Srin Xanarth said of the reportedly blighted planet located at the edge of a spiral arm in the Milky Way galaxy. “When our long-range satellites first picked it up, we honestly thought we’d hit the jackpot. We just assumed it would be a lush, green world filled with abundant natural resources. But unfortunately, its damaged biosphere makes it wholly unsuitable for living creatures of any kind.”
“It’s basically a dead planet,” she added. “We give it another 200 years, tops.”
The alien researchers stated that the dramatically warming atmosphere of RP-26 contains alarming amounts of carbon dioxide and methane, as well as an ozone layer that—for reasons they cannot begin to fathom—has been allowed to develop a gaping hole. They also noted the presence of melting polar icecaps, floods, and enough pollutants to poison “every last drop of the planet’s fresh water, if you can even call it that.”
Given the extreme toxicity of its environment, the Terxus scientists said they did not yet understand how the planet ever came to support single-cell organisms, let alone more complex species and intelligent life.
“Essentially, you have this entire world that’s a deathbed for everything still managing to live there,” said Dr. Xanarth, who estimates that tens of thousands of species on RP-26 go extinct every year. “And for whatever reason, members of its most dominant species choose to live above ground, where they are exposed to deadly ultraviolet rays and weather patterns that grow more and more violent all the time.”
“The majority of them live in crowded, dirty clusters along heavily contaminated bodies of water,” she continued. “It’s really all very sad.”
Alien scientists acknowledged that for all practical purposes, RP-26 is now little more than a giant ball of dirt emitting noxious fumes. But they also shared an artist’s rendering that depicts how the planet might have appeared in its recent past, when it reportedly contained flourishing ecosystems able to sustain an impressive diversity of species, and an atmosphere that was actually hospitable to organisms that breathe oxygen.
The advanced beings said they have concluded that any attempt to colonize or even travel to RP-26 would be a futile endeavor, because by the time they reached the distant planet its coastlines would have washed away, and the remaining landmasses would be plagued by widespread drought and famine.
“Frankly, it would be pretty pointless to explore it any further unless we wanted to study how things die,” Dr. Xanarth said. “It’s basically going to be an ugly, befouled rock covered in a thick soup of deadly chemicals. It would need to be terraformed before we could even walk on its surface, which, let’s face it, I don’t think anyone in their right mind would be willing to do.”
“As for the intelligent life-forms inhabiting that planet right now, God help them, because that whole place is going to hell,” she added. “It’s really a shame, too, because all our data suggests they would have made for really good eating.”