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SETI – why bother?

Life in the Solar System

There is life in the Solar System – life on Earth. Could there be simple lifeforms amongst other planets and moons of the Sun?

People once though that there could be life on Mars. Orbiting spacecraft have scanned the surface and robot landers have even explored down into the sandy surface. There is no sign of life there now, so far. It’s not impossible that bacteria-like life could be found, or evidence of that in the past. Projects like the Phoenix mission could tell us more.


Europa is a moon of the planet Jupiter. It’s covered in ice, with cracks full of muddier material, but beneath the ice is water. Could anything swim in those water? It’s unlikely, but…

Titan is in orbit around Saturn. It’s a misty place, with mountains and lakes. The mists and the lakes are not water, but hydrocarbon. It’s much too cold there for liquid water, and almost certainly too cold for life. But there are volcanic hotspots, and who knows …


Enceladus is another of Saturn’s moons. It’s much smaller than Titan, and covered in fresh ice crystals. They come from ice-volcanoes, seen here shooting ice into space, and created by an unknown source of heat beneath the surface …


Next: The search for intelligent life

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16-07-15 12:44
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