For some time now we have seen Mars as a possible candidate for a planet that might offer life, similar to the one on Earth. What happens if this turns out to be untrue? Are there other possibilities? The truth is that there is actually a very high probability that life on other planets or moons exists. It’s just up to us to discover it.
Europa is Jupiter’s smallest moon and its second closest moon. Its size is almost the same as our Moon, but unlike the Earth’s Moon, it has not yet lost its internal heat. This is quite unusual for objects of this size, since they usually loose their heat in a short amount of time. However, Europa seems to have an energy source that still keeps her geologically active. In addition, NASA’s Hubble Telescope has discovered that there is an erupting water plume on Europa. Energy sources and the presence of water are the two most important prerequisites for life. Europa has them both, making this moon the perfect candidate.
What the future holds
NASA plans on exploring Europa furthermore in the future. They are also planning on launching Europa Clipper in the 2020s, so they can better access the moon. They are planning on using a radar system in order to collect information on the structure of Europa’s subsurface ocean. That way they can see if there really is a subsurface ocean, or it is completely solid. They would also be able to measure Europa’s shape and finally get a complete and precise picture. It’s not just Europa that has sparked their interest. The possibilities of finding life on other planets and moons in our solar system are quite real, and there are many other potential candidates.
Saturn’s moon seems to be the perfect candidate, as it has all of the key ingredients required in order for life to be possible. Enceladus is one of the most reflective bodies in our solar system, and is mostly covered in ice. It has quite a small surface, but its surface features both old and young regions.
What research has shown so far is that Enceladus also seems to have water plumes rising from its surface, which have an abundance of hydrogen molecules. t-shirt_code Scientists believe that the hydrogen came from a hydrothermal reaction between the moon’s core and its ocean. Additionally, Enceladus is very active today, which along with its water sources make it a perfect candidate for life on other planets and moons.
Saturn’s largest moon is quite a mysterious place as well, and may even host life. Its atmosphere is thick and rich in organic compounds which may be considered as a sign of life. The Cassini spacecraft was launched in order to study Saturn’s atmosphere, its magnetic field, rings, and other satellites from 2004 to 2008.
Although some believe that Titan could be a possible candidate for life beyond our planet, one thing is certain… It is very unlikely that Titan could be a nice match today. The reason for that is that today’s Titan has unbelievably low and freezing temperatures. That would make life impossible. Those freezing cold temperatures of -292 °F would mean that we wouldn’t possibly be able to have water in liquid form.
Nevertheless, scientists are still puzzled about the organic compounds and methane found in its atmosphere, and aren’t planning on dismissing the possibility of Titan hosting life in the future.