Where Could Life Exist in the Solar System?

It’s an exciting year in space exploration as Ceres is now being investigated and Pluto will be seen for the first time in July. These may also be the last large objects to be explored in the solar system for a very long time.  But not to worry, the only other large objects are quite far away, though I’d love to see Eris and Haumea especially.

However, part of what makes Ceres exciting is the prospect of life, or the small possibility of it being habitable by very marginalised life.  There are several candidates in the solar system that have the potential to support life:

  • Mars is quite promising, but mainly in the past.
  • Ceres needs to be examined more first.
  • Europa has liquid water oceans.
  • Titan is a very different world, but has conditions similar to early Earth.
  • Enceladus also likely has liquid water under the surface.

These five are of particular interest at the moment.  Which world do you think is most likely to support life?  Vote in the poll below and leave a comment explaining your choice.  I’ll make a post later on examining each of these worlds and making my own conclusion.

21 thoughts on “Where Could Life Exist in the Solar System?”

  1. I think Europa, Enceladus and Titan have the highest likelihood of life on them, though if anything exists on Titan it will be the most alien life imaginable, because it will swim in liquid methane and ethane, breathe hydrogen and survive in temperatures of -300 degrees, sustained by the liquid-water volcanoes that dot the moon’s surface.

    1. Funny, I said much of the same things you said in my most recent post. Those three have subsurface liquid water oceans, and that’s probably where you’d find the life. On Titan, that’s more likely than on the surface, I think. But it would have to be life adapted to using hydrocarbons rather than water on the surface.

  2. This post sparks my imagination. I’ve lost touch will all this since school. I’m going to start paying more attention, we’ve advanced so much, and I’m letting it pass me by.

  3. I figure that Europa, Enceladus and Titan all have a chance of supporting life of some kind. But who knows until we find it? If we find it. I think Mars probably DID, and quite possibly oxygen-water life (or potentially methanogenic) like Earth does. but whether it does now is moot. It might. We haven’t been able to equip a robot yet to ask the right questions – you know, it’s kinda hard to change the experiment when the vials you have to refill and the gear you have to re-rig happen to be on another planet.

    1. Completely agree. And also, this is a reason why we need people to go to Mars. People do a far better job at adapting to different situations and conducting experiments. They say robots can do what we can, but most likely, they won’t have the judgment we do. We can do things far faster because of our minds.

  4. It’s all quite interesting. I love the idea of Europa having oceans. But I could not guess which ones could have life or not I feel. I don’t know. But it is an interesting thing to think about. Do we have neighbors out there somewhere? 🙂

  5. I’ve had this story idea in my head for years now that was prompted by the thought: “Life on Titan had all possibilities but had not yet begun. Until they finally began it for us.”

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