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One of the most asked questions of all time on the planet Earth is, Is there life on

other planets? Nowadays, the question extends to the whole universe. But what
about the planets in our solar system? What is it about our definition of life that
excludes any planet or moon in our solar system from being life-bearing? Let’s take
a trip around our solar system and find out. Hang on tight

Our current definition of a life-bearing planet or moon is one that contains water.
This eliminates all but a choice few objects in our solar system. Our first stop is the
moon. Data suggests that under the lunar surface, at the poles of the moon, ice is
mixed in with the soil. However, if water ever existed on the surface, it would boil
instantly due to the vacuum of space.

Next stop is Europa, moon of Jupiter, where a whole ocean hides under an icy crust.
One would think that this would be a good place to look for life, but scientists are
reluctant. The thought is that since the moons of Jupiter act gravitationally on each
other, Europa has at some relatively recent point been frozen, leaving a deficiency
of time for life to have begun by now.

Now we travel to Titan, a moon of Saturn. Titan’s gassy atmosphere means that
there is a chance that liquid methane pools may have formed on its surface, and
that the lowlands of Titan have some unidentified dark material. Alas, scientists
think that the negative 179 degress celsius temperature makes it impossible for life
to form.

Our last stop on this trip is Mars, the most likely object in our solar system to
contain life. In 1976, The vikings one and two spacecrafts collected soil and ran
tests on it, and while no signs pointed to conventional ways of determining life,
some strange chemical processes were detected. Later, mars rovers found
evidence that water once flowed on Mars surface. This is exciting news, but it is still
not proof enough. When humans finally make it to Mars, a geologist will no doubt
be among the first visitors, charged with finding out for sure if life existed when the
water flowed.

These glum results are no reason to fret. The universe has an estimated five times
ten to the tenth planetary systems, each with multiple planets. Ponder the
possibilities as we now return to Earth.