New reports from NASA, including a recent announcement, show just how far science is taking us in the search for life. Evidence of new ocean worlds and water on planets thought previously to be devoid of life are demonstrating just how far we’ve come, but what do these ocean worlds really tell us? Grab your scientific notebooks and tuck into this incredible information; this is some exciting stuff!
Having lived on Earth for all of our lives (with the exception of astronauts), even the best scientists are prone to holding an Earth-centric view of nature itself. When we think of oceans, most of us think of Earth’s oceans—teeming with life and many right for swimming, too, depending on where you are in the world.
Unfortunately, that’s probably not the case for most of the oceans discovered by Hubble. But the presence of water does increase the chances of a planet developing into a hospitable world down the road—and that’s great news for us here on Earth.
A Concentrated Effort
While the Hubble telescope is certainly expanding our ability to investigate exoplanets from here on Earth, the recent Cassini mission also contributed to NASA’s new data. Cassini, a satellite orbiting Saturn, has spent the last 30 years gathering information about the planet. Though NASA’s details were scant, they pointed to the fact that something discovered on Saturn may allow scientists to detect life on other planets at a more reliable rate.
Europa May Be the Answer
Of additional interest, and currently on NASA’s radar, is Europa, a small exoplanet orbiting Jupiter. New telescope data is revealing evidence of water molecules and evaporation, a sign that Europa may contain water spouts—and, thus, oceans. Scientists suspect that Europa could even contain three times the water of Earth. Kevin Costner’s Waterworld just might be real (albeit not in the way the movie represented).
Technically, Europa is an ice planet, so the idea of life may seem pretty far-fetched. But what’s often missed is the fact that the tiny planet’s ocean makes contact with geothermal elements that heat up the water and provide the planet with warmth. In the right conditions, that geothermal activity could very well create the perfect recipe for life to develop.
Upcoming Clipper Mission
With evidence rolling out of Europa, and scientists chomping at the bit to explore it, a clipper mission in 2020 is the inevitable next step. Scientists hope that, by getting a closer look and probing the planet directly, they’ll be able to identify whether or not their suspicions are accurate.
New Information May Change Space Exploration
NASA also hinted at additional discoveries, mostly of exoplanets throughout the solar system. While these planets weren’t directly identified, a NASA representative did say that what they’ve found could change space exploration forever. They also hinted that some of the features they may have found on these exoplanets could point to life—life that’s similar in nature to the life found here on Earth.
Furiously scribbling down details in your trusty research notebook? You’re not alone. Scientists all across the world are just as excited as you are about the findings. While SNCO can’t discover new life on your behalf, we can make it easier to do the work you already love. Contact us today at 800-537-3028 to inquire about our research supplies.