5 Places in the Solar System That May Contain Alien Life
The possibility of finding life outside the earth has always instigated the human imagination. The first space mission to search for extraterrestrial signals came in 1979. The NASA-led Viking program even sent twin probes to Mars for clues. The mission, at the time, ended up bringing no results.
In short, scientists look at three major requirements for life outside our planet: liquid water, organic matter, and a source of energy.
At high costs and at the risk of contaminating other planets with terrestrial microbes, research into space exploration is proceeding slowly and is limited to sending probes orbiting the celestial bodies.
The evidence observed, however, is various - so we have brought up a list of five places in the Solar System that present elements for the existence of life outside the Earth:
1 - Mars
This year was hectic for the planet: In July, scientists identified complex carbon molecules, classified as organic matter. They were found in pieces of solidified mud, formed about 3.5 billion years ago. The material was collected in 2015 in what used to be the bed of a large lake: the Gale crater.
Another discovery that excited scientists was the discovery of a large lake under an ice cap on Mars. Italian researchers announced the detection of an underground reservoir nearly 20 kilometers long in June this year.
Although not definitive proof, they are two points on the scale of elements indispensable to life for Mars!
2 - Europe
We're talking about one of Jupiter's moons, not the continent! Although it is smaller than Earth, scientists estimate that the surrounding sea contains twice as much water as our oceans. The existence of water beneath its icing is what places this satellite on the list of "most habitable" extraterrestrial places in the Solar System.
3 - Enceladus
We now proceed to one of Saturn's satellites. 500 kilometers away from the planet, Enceladus is also a moon covered by an icing. In 2015, scientists discovered a large salty ocean under their caps. Like Mars, this satellite has presented - in more recent research - complex organic material composed of carbon. Previously, methane and other simpler organic elements had already been detected on Saturn's sixth largest moon.
4 - Titan
Joining the list of possible competitors to present life off Earth is another moon on Saturn: in this case, the largest of them. Called Titan, this is - in fact - the second largest moon in the Solar System, twice the size of ours. This satellite is the only place besides planet Earth that has stable liquid masses on its surface.
However, its rivers, lakes and even oceans are not made up of water, but methane. The element, gaseous in our atmosphere, ends up liquid under temperatures of -179 ° C. Scientists speculate that while unlike life on our planet, the satellite may harbor other forms, still similar to terrestrial ones, that could use liquid methane as a solvent instead of water.
5 - Ganymede
Largest satellite in the Solar System, Ganymede is one of Jupiter's moons. In 2015, the Hubble Space Telescope confirmed the existence of a salty ocean beneath its more than 150 kilometers of icy crust. Scientists believe that it would have a mass six times larger than our planet's - which would give the satellite the title of the most watered object in the solar system. The discovery came about by observing the behavior of auroras, a phenomenon similar to what happens on Earth.
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