For those who are hoping to find evidence of life somewhere else in the Solar System, there was some exciting news this week. Two moons, Europa and Enceladus, were already thought to be among the best places to search, since both have liquid water oceans beneath their outer icy shells. And now, new data from the Cassini spacecraft and the Hubble Space Telescope has increased the potential for some form of living organisms to be found.
Europa and Enceladus are known as “ocean moons,” among at least several others in the Solar System such as Ganymede, Titan, Mimas and a few others, and maybe even the dwarf planet Pluto. The difference with Europa and Enceladus, however, is that their oceans are closer to the surface compared to the others, and are in contact with the rocky interior below them, just like on Earth. This means that chemical nutrients should be available. Other than that and the liquid water, a source of heat/energy is also required, at least for ocean life as we are familiar with on Earth, even if just microorganisms. Both moons appear to possess all three requirements, which makes them prime candidates in the search for life.
Read the rest of my article on OMNI.