Life in our solar system?

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posted on Jul, 30 2011 @ 03:04 PM
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Every man woman and child that has ever inhabited our planet has at some point looked up the heavenly bodies that dance across our sky.. in wonderment..
And for millenia have asked the question.. is there life out there?

whilst we cannot confirm the existence of life, we do understand the essential elements needed and we do have a good idea of where to look for it. (It is believed that no advanced life or intelligent life, such as ourselves, exists off Earth in the Solar System)
Current knowledge suggests that extraterrestrial Solar System life would most likely be microbial and single-celled in nature - similar to bacteria, nano-bacteria or archaea. They will almost certainly be some sort of extremophile.



In fact, the ultimate three conditions for life -- liquid water, organic chemicals and heat energy, might be anathema to exotic organisms. Astrobiologists point out, for example, that silicon-based life might thrive in highly acidic environments. And if ammonia filled the role of water for an alien life form, it would theoretically be able to thrive under even the coldest of conditions.

Now the idea of this thread is to look at the places in the solar system (with our current technology and scientific knowledge) which are the best candidates to harbor life.

Firstly lets just take a quick look at other worldly objects that have fallen to earth as meteorites.

There have been around 22,000 documented meteorite discoveries on Earth and many have been found to hold organic compounds.




In 1996, a group of scientists announced they had spotted strong evidence of microfossils on a Martian meteorite found in Antarctica showing that life may have existed on the Red Planet some 3.6 billion years ago. After years of intense debate, the issue whether the Martian meteorite contains life or not remains unresolved.


And recently Richard Hoover, an astrobiologist at the NASA's Marshall space flight centre in Alabama, said filaments and other structures in rare meteorites appear to be microscopic fossils of extraterrestrial beings that resemble algae known as cyanobacteria.

So where are the best places off earth to look? lets start with our nearest neighbor and most studied planet in the solar system.

Mars



Mars seems to be a dry, nearly airless landscape, but is one of the best places to seek extraterrestrial life.

In spite of a sparse atmosphere, Mars still the closest thing to Earth in terms of size and temperature range. Plus, there's water ice in its frozen poles and beneath the surface as well.
Warm underground pockets and hydrothermal vents could be the best bets to explore.

There are many indications that there was once flowing and standing water on mars. Because of this, scientist believe we should be able to discover at least fossilized evidence that mars, while controversially dead now, may have had life at some point.
(Small quantities of methane and formaldehyde have also been recently detected by Mars orbiters and are claimed to be hints for life on Mars and indicates the planet may still be alive)

Europa
Europa is a body that was discovered by Galileo on January 7, 1610. It is Jupiter's second moon although it is the smallest at 3,135 km. (1949 miles across), just slightly smaller than the Earth's moon.

even though it has temperatures of -274 degrees Fahrenheit and a surface coated entirely in ice. cris cross patterns on the surface, have led Scientists to theorize for years, that an ocean could be hiding beneath Europa's icy surface. One that even contains oxygen and is heated by the internal battle of gravity between jupiter and its moons.
It is estimated that Europa has twice the amount of water as earth.

Hydrothermal vents created from such heat could provide the essential ingredients for life, although it would most likely resemble the extreme microbes that thrive around Earth's hot underwater vents.

Titan
Could this frigid moon provide a welcoming environment for life?

Scientists are taking a closer look at this Saturn moon and finding more and more potential building blocks for very basic life there, its thick atmosphere is rich in compounds that often mark the presence of living organisms.
it is thought that Titan's current atmosphere resembles Earth's about 3.7 billion years ago around the time when life began to blossom and transform the planet's chemical makeup.


NASA's Huygens probe detected what looked like liquid methane on the mini planet’s surface in 2005. In May 2010, two teams of scientists announced that NASA's Cassini orbiter showed Titan is harboring an unusual chemical dance party with hydrogen and acetylene.


As Saturn is twice as far from the Sun as is Jupiter, it receives only one-quarter of the solar radiation that Jupiter receives.This means it is very very cold here, but because the atmosphere of Titan is so thick it absorbs whatever solar radiation is available and uses it to drive chemical processes in the atmosphere and on the surface.
This means that weather and complex chemistry occur on Titan.

Enceladus
Enceladus is another one of Saturn's chilly moons, and at about 314 miles across. (sixth largest) it has been called the most promising bet for life thanks to its welcoming temperature and the likely presence of water and simple organic molecules. The surface of the icy moon is thought to be about 99 percent water ice, with a good chance of liquid water underneath, heated by the moon's core.

When the Cassini probe flew through one of Enceladus' icy plumes of water in 2008, it detected carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen and oxygen -- all excellent elements for aspiring carbon-based life forms.
The crust covering the moon's southern pole is marked by "tiger stripes" of cracks, venting vapor and ice particles, which microbes could conceivably thrive on. Enceladus' landscape might even feature icy volcanoes.

Io
Jupiter’s moon Io is one of the few solar system moons to support an atmosphere, and it contains complex chemicals promising for life. Volcanism on the moon also makes it warmer than many others.. another good sign.

Some areas boil with volcanoes spewing superheated lava, but in the dark temperatures drop to a blistering cold barely warmer than the vacuum of space itself, and because its location inside Jupiter’s magnetic field means it is constantly being pelted with lethal radiation. Altogether a pretty hostile place for life in our solar system, but primitive life may still be able to survive..

Ceres
Ceres is the largest body in the asteroid belt and is classed as a dwarf planet. While not as actively thought as a potential home for extraterrestrial life as other moons and planets, the possible presence of water ice has led some scientists to consider that life may exist there

scientists believe it may also boast a complex interior similar to a planet's. The asteroid's rocky middle core may be coated with a thick layer of water ice making up about 25 percent of Ceres' bulk. Life could exsist if there were sub surface oceans and hydrothermal vents.


University of Giessen has theorized that life on Earth could have originated on Ceres and traveled here on a fragment of rock -- a process called panspermia.


callisto
Callisto is another Galileo discovery of 1610, being the same size as the planet Mercury, it is the second largest moon of Jupiter and the most heavily scarred satellite in the solar system. it received massive bombardment about 4 billion years ago and nothing has happened on the surface since.

Why is it on the list? we have a reoccurring theme here.. some scientists believe there could be a salty ocean under the surface, mixed with internal heat and decaying radioactive materials, it could harbour life.
Callisto's hypothetical subsurface ocean might also hold an electric charge. When the Galileo spacecraft cruised by, it detected magnetic fluctuations suggesting that Jupiter's own magnetic field might allow an inner saltwater ocean to behave like a giant battery.

Venus

It has an insane atmospheric pressure on the surface and boiling heat, with sulfuric acid clouds and volcanic unrest. Most of the planet's water was long ago broken down by intense sunlight, and what little is left is almost certainly steam. But there is still a possibility of life.


there may still be microbiological life on Venus -- at an altitude of approximately 31 miles high. Here, the pressure drops to Earth sea levels and temperatures reach a far less hellish range of 86-176 degrees Fahrenheit.

Under these conditions, water vapor can condense into droplets, in which acid-loving extremophiles (or acidophiles) could thrive in at such high reaches of the Venusian sky. In fact, scientists have observed dark patches in Venus' clouds, which could indicate such organisms engaging in anaerobic photosynthesis.


Now all these worlds are unique and significant in their own way.. but this i the most special planet in our solar system.. A unique planet which has breathtaking beauty and harbors the exact conditions to host a diverse array of life.



Its just a shame we dont look after it..

edit on 30/7/11 by Misterlondon because: (no reason given)




posted on Jul, 30 2011 @ 03:05 PM
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Nice,but you could only say this.

There is life on the Moon,Mars,Jupiter,Titan,Saturn,probably Venus and Mercury.

S&F
edit on 30-7-2011 by Nikola014 because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 30 2011 @ 03:39 PM
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reply to post by Misterlondon
 


Awesome thread dude, it's crazy that just in our solar system there are 8 possible bodies that could harbor life. Scale that up to the entire galaxy. Scale that up to the entire universe.



posted on Jul, 30 2011 @ 03:40 PM
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Maybe we are the ones who live in a rare condition. Maybe our planet is the exotic, with, 0 to none posibilities to arbor life, by E.T. standars.
Maybe that´s why we are so visited!



posted on Jul, 30 2011 @ 03:54 PM
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Of course there is life out there, the stars are alive. The entire universe is a living entity. The human ego always assumes we are the pinnacle of life, and that life as we know it on earth is the only possible way. But we are insignificant in the grand scheme of things. There is so much we dont know, what little we do know is barely scratching the surface.



posted on Jul, 30 2011 @ 04:07 PM
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Originally posted by TupacShakur
reply to post by Misterlondon
 


Awesome thread dude, it's crazy that just in our solar system there are 8 possible bodies that could harbor life. Scale that up to the entire galaxy. Scale that up to the entire universe.


thanks..


there are actually a couple more contenders in our solar system which i didnt include.. most notebaly jupiters moon Ganymede..

if you do scale it to the universe.. there must be an evolved form of life out there..



posted on Jul, 30 2011 @ 04:16 PM
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Originally posted by Firefly_
Of course there is life out there, the stars are alive. The entire universe is a living entity. The human ego always assumes we are the pinnacle of life, and that life as we know it on earth is the only possible way. But we are insignificant in the grand scheme of things. There is so much we dont know, what little we do know is barely scratching the surface.


your right, we know virtually nothing about the universe, we are making steps but everytime we progress we find more questions than answers.

i wouldnt say we were insignificant though.. just as all life on earth has a purpose in one way or another.. im sure we do aswell in the grand scheme of things.



posted on Jul, 30 2011 @ 04:29 PM
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reply to post by Misterlondon
 


Not there must, there is.. As long as we have this simple word (lie) in the mouth of TPTB we won't, have a concrete proof, real fact that scientific evidence can explain. The problem with science and physicists in many areas do not like fast and revolutionary changes. This typical way of thinking has to be modified but for now we must wait until it begins sprouting. We live in modern time very fast paced so I do not doubt these changes will occur sooner or later but surely.


Thruthseek3r



posted on Jul, 30 2011 @ 05:56 PM
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Titan has some cool features and diverse geology.Who knows what could be out there.
Clouds,mountains,rivers and lakes oh my.











posted on Jul, 30 2011 @ 05:59 PM
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I heard that the most likely place outside earth for life is one of Jupiters? moons. It has an ice surface but apparently sub surface it is water due to the friction caused by jupitors? gravity.



posted on Jul, 30 2011 @ 07:21 PM
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Originally posted by Misterlondon

if you do scale it to the universe.. there must be an evolved form of life out there..


An evolved form of life to which "standard"? life that has the potential to interact with human life?

That's the problem,there are so many orbiting bodies within the solar system that could be teeming with "evolved" life but we would never know,as it could potentially be outwith our sensory range at present.

Perhaps it's humankind that needs to evolve to attain the same evolutionary level of these hypothetical life forms? after all,in our present form,we can only perceive and operate in 5 dimensions,our visual spectrum is limited to the range between the red and violet light wave bands and we require artificial,i.e mechanical means to travel even the relatively miniscule distance to our own satelite.
edit on 30-7-2011 by nake13 because: grammar



posted on Jul, 30 2011 @ 08:06 PM
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reply to post by michael1983l
 





I heard that the most likely place outside earth for life is one of Jupiters? moons.

My vote is for Titan or Europa.
edit on 30-7-2011 by flyingfish because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 30 2011 @ 09:05 PM
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Carl Sagan's Cosmos: Life on Jupiter




posted on Jul, 30 2011 @ 10:11 PM
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Weren't they planning on sending some kind of submersible to drill/melt through the ice of Europa to the ocean below and then gather data? Something like they were planning to do with lake Vostok.


Vostok & Europa

Considering how large the universe is, there HAS to be life out there somewhere mathematically.

Drake Equation


Great thread! S&F

Im sure there must be life in some form or another in our own solar system. Heck....Maybe Mars was once a planet like ours, teaming with life a few million or billion years ago

edit on 30-7-2011 by QBSneak000 because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 30 2011 @ 10:19 PM
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Here's the Drake Equation explained by Sagan




posted on Jul, 30 2011 @ 10:40 PM
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Our friend Kepler just needs a bit more time to do its job the way it was designed and then our dream will include the many earths it sure to find


The Icy moons of the gas giants and the gas giants themselves beg to be explored Lets get it done! I want to know more



posted on Jul, 31 2011 @ 01:22 AM
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Originally posted by thruthseek3r
reply to post by Misterlondon
 


Not there must, there is.. As long as we have this simple word (lie) in the mouth of TPTB we won't, have a concrete proof, real fact that scientific evidence can explain. The problem with science and physicists in many areas do not like fast and revolutionary changes. This typical way of thinking has to be modified but for now we must wait until it begins sprouting. We live in modern time very fast paced so I do not doubt these changes will occur sooner or later but surely.


Thruthseek3r



The problem with some of these scientists is when new evidence emerges or a new theory is found, this may challenge their whole lifes work, so they chose to ridicule, ignore or brush it aside..



posted on Jul, 31 2011 @ 01:25 AM
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reply to post by flyingfish
 


Yeah I think Titan is a good bet.. From what we know so far it seems to be a primordial soup like earth once was..



posted on Jul, 31 2011 @ 01:33 AM
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reply to post by nake13
 


When I say evolved lifeform, I don't necessarily mean one that can interact with humans.. Most animals on earth are evolved lifeforms. I also think your other point is spot on... Maybe it is teeming with life out there, Maybe it's beyond our knowledge and understanding.. Maybe the universe is teeming with life but we just can't see it..



posted on Jul, 31 2011 @ 01:39 AM
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Originally posted by QBSneak000
Here's the Drake Equation explained by Sagan


What exactly does the Drake Equation have to do with finding life in our solar system?





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