Prospects for life in Solar system are good!

on . Posted in Articles of Interest

HOUSTON, Texas (PNN) - March 29, 2017 - There is evidence for subsurface oceans within nearly a dozen bodies (planets, asteroids and moons) in the Solar system.

Jupiter's Europa, Saturn's Enceladus, and Titan have the strongest evidence.

The asteroid Ceres has joined Mars and several satellites of the giant planets in the list of locations in the Solar system that may harbor life. The dwarf planet has water. Now, infrared spectra taken from the orbiting Dawn spacecraft reveals organic-rich regions in and around its 50-kilometer Ernutet crater. Ceres definitely has about 25% water ice, but there is a reasonable likelihood that there is liquid water as well.

Mars also has a lot of water ice for sure but some of it could be liquid.

Recent spacecraft studies of Comet 67P/Churyumov.gerasimenko with Rosetta and of Ceres with the Dawn space probe provide evidence that complex organic molecules and even amino acids are ubiquitous on small bodies in the Solar system and that water ice is abundant in the asteroid belt.

Europa’s oceans may have an Earthlike chemical balance. Europa’s is closest to the surface (less than 10 km and possibly less than 1 km in places), and hence potentially best suited for eventual direct exploration. Enceladus’ ocean is deeper - 5–40 km below its surface - but fractures beneath the south pole of this moon allow ice and gas from the ocean to escape to space where it has been sampled by mass spectrometers aboard the Cassini Saturn Orbiter. Titan's ocean is the deepest - perhaps 50–100 km - and no evidence for plumes or ice volcanism exist on the surface. In terms of the search for evidence of life within these oceans, the plume of ice and gas emanating from Enceladus makes this the moon of choice for a fast-track program to search for life. If plumes exist on Europa - yet to be confirmed - or places can be located where ocean water is extruded onto the surface, then the search for life on this lunar-sized body can also be accomplished quickly by the standards of outer Solar system exploration.

Both Ganymede and Callisto have surfaces dominated by impact craters, and even the so-called “grooved terrain” on Ganymede indicative of geologic activity seems very ancient. To support the ancient craters requires thick, cold crusts, so that their oceans are likely deep below the surface - perhaps 100 km or more. Because both objects are more massive than Europa and possess as much ice as rock, some of the ice must be in the form of the high-pressure phases that are denser than liquid water. Thus their oceans are likely sandwiched between layers of ice above and below, making contact with the underlying silicate (thought to be important for life) unlikely.

According to astronomers with the Royal Observatory of Belgium, Dione’s icy surface is floating on an ocean lying 62 miles beneath the surface. Data suggest the ocean is a few dozen miles deep.

Scientists believe Dione's ocean has likely been around for the entirety of the moon's existence, offering plenty of time for the development of microbial life. The ocean is too deep to access, but scientists are hopeful that the moon ejects ocean spray through polar geysers like Saturn's other liquid-logged moons, Titan and Enceladus.

Eulogies

Eulogy for an Angel
1992-Dec. 20, 2005

My Father
1918-2010

brents dad

Dr. Stan Dale
1929-2007

stan dale

A. Solzhenitsyn
1918-2008

solzhenitsyn

Patrick McGoohan
1928-2009

mcgoohan

Joseph A. Stack
1956-2010

Bill Walsh
1931-2007

Walter Cronkite
1916-2009

Eustace Mullins
1923-2010

Paul Harvey
1918-2009

Don Harkins
1963-2009

Joan Veon
1949-2010

David Nolan
1943-2010

Derry Brownfield
1932-2011

Leroy Schweitzer
1938-2011

Vaclav Havel
1936-2011

Andrew Breitbart
1969-2012

Dick Clark
1929-2012

Bob Chapman
1935-2012

Ray Bradbury
1920-2012

Tommy Cryer
1949-2012

Andy Griffith
1926-2012

Phyllis Diller
1917-2012

Larry Dever
1926-2012

Brian J. Chapman
1975-2012

Annette Funnicello
1942-2012

Margaret Thatcher
1925-2012

Richie Havens
1941-2013

Jack McLamb
1944-2014

James Traficant
1941-2014

jim traficant

Dr. Stan Monteith
1929-2014

stan montieth

Leonard Nimoy
1931-2015

Leonard Nimoy

Stan Solomon
1944-2015

Stan Solomon

B. B. King
1926-2015

BB King

Irwin Schiff
1928-2015

Irwin Schiff

DAVID BOWIE
1947-2016

David Bowie

Muhammad Ali
1942-2016

Muhammed Ali

GENE WILDER
1933-2016

gene wilder

phyllis schlafly
1924-2016

phylis schafly

John Glenn
1921-2016

John Glenn

Charles Weisman
1954-2016

Charles Weisman

Carrie Fisher
1956-2016

Carrie Fisher

Debbie Reynolds
1932-2016

Debbie Reynolds

Roger Moore
1917-2017

Roger Moore