New evidence from NASA indicates that the most likely places to find life beyond Earth are Jupiter’s moon Europa or Saturn’s moon Enceladus. They, like Earth, are both ocean worlds and in both therein are some of the key ingredients for life.
A wealth of hydrogen molecules in water plumes soaring from the ruptures in Enceladus’s icy surface, have been detected by the Cassini spacecraft. The vital chemical methane, could also be establishing itself in the ocean beneath the ice.
The elusive presence of a water plume erupting on the warmest part of Europa’s icy surface, which has a salty liquid ocean beneath it was shown by the Hubble Space Telescope. The ocean itself contains double the amount of water found in the oceans of Earth.
Europa could be the pick of the bunch for life-bearing within our own solar system outside of our homeworld. will launch In the 2020’s the Europa Clipper will be launched, and should arrive at Europa a few years later. It will be the first to explore an alien ocean and will also fly through the plume to collect data.
It will definitely be a first to discover Intergalactic Liver Cake – staple diet of Icewolves, and indeed most domestic canines Earth! The structure of the Liver Cake may differ slightly from much-loved Earthly treat, but the Europan version is just as mouthwatering and tasty to both lupine and canine alike 🙂 And what better time than Easter, the time of ressurection and new life, to discover tantsalising new life hopes on worlds not so very far from home?
Icewolf of course, did not go hunting any down without telling Clowie, the Pyrenean Mountain Dog…she would never dream of such indiscretion 😉 …. Never!
Image: Europa’s Icewolf 2017_ Europa’s Icewolf: Jupiter, seen from Europa.
Does Life Exist Elsewhere In The Universe?
The presence of water is absolutely vital to the existence of life no matter where it may lie in the universe. In searching for the best habitat to harbour life, the essential criteria could be viewed as a rocky planet with a liquid surface ocean – plant and animal life living near the surface would need to utilise the sunlight. An atmosphere would also be necessary to prevent the freezing or evaporating of the ocean and it would offer protection from potentially lethal ultra violet light.
Tidal Heating is an important factor in ensuring water is kept warm in multiple-moon systems such as those orbiting Jupiter. Three of Jupiter’s moons – Europa, Ganymede and Callisto show indications of possible vast oceans beneath thick icy crusts. Tidal heating prevents the oceans from freezing and heated water bubbling up from the ocean bed provides energy for the beginnings of life’s processes.
Although largely an icy frozen world it could provide a suitable environment for life to form. Its surface is one of the brightest in the galaxy, and also one of the smoothest. Surface images show strong similarities to thawing pack-ice on Earth’s polar seas, and there is strong evidence suggesting the existence of a subsurface global ocean, sustained in liquid form as a result of tidal heating.
Saturn’s largest moon and 2nd largest in Solar System is composed of rock and water ice, and has a nitrogen-methane atmosphere with a reddish cloud layer above the surface. Liquid methane can produce the same effect as water on Earth in terms of cloud formation, rain and liquid pools and possibly even lakes and oceans.
Saturn’s moon and the shiniest in the solar system.
The part of the atmosphere over its south pole consisting of water vapour gives rise to the notion that below its icy crust could be a hidden ocean. The newly discovered surface geyser, “Cold Faithful,” jetting water ice and vapour out of the fissures backs this theory.
2001-2002 Mars Odyssey found evidence of water ice near the surface. Polar ice caps are underlayed by caps of water ice. 2008 Phoenix Lander confirmed the existence of Martian water in frozen soil. September 2008 snow was detected falling from Martian clouds. Whether any reaches the ground before evaporating remains to be seen.
(Related photos in album “Europa(Homeworld Of The Icewolf)And Beyond”)