Life beyond the earth has always been a fascinating topic. Some believe in aliens living on other planets, some predict a mirror world. Till now all we know is there exist other planets and we are not alone in the universe. Scientists have stepped into the outer world in search of life. The word “life” itself is undefined. We only know where there is water, there is life. According to a report from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), water has been found on Mars.
Since the beginning, humans have questioned the existence of life other than Earth. NASA has developed advanced tools to explore the solar system and beyond to find the existence of life. Life on Earth can survive under harsh conditions has helped scientists in broadening the understanding of where they might find life in the solar system. Scientists are expanding their ideas and trying to find what kind of worlds support life.
Life In The Outer Solar System
This is for sure that planets Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune are not habitable for life. They receive warming sunlight and contain abundant water. There is one interesting fact about Jupiter and its moon. When the moon orbits Jupiter the massive gravity creates tides and generates water in liquid form.
Europa, Jupiter’s moon, has an ocean but not life. There is a thick ice crust in Europa through which sunlight is not able to penetrate. Hence, there is no energy and life.
Saturn’s moon Enceladus made a remarkable discovery of salt and icy material. It has been suggested that the source of the ocean water is present in Enceladus. Although there is no possibility that it is home to live.
The unusual chemistry of Saturn’s big moon Titan makes it an interesting place. Titan is composed of nitrogen, 5% of methane, and also a variety of complex organic compounds. It has liquid water deep within its interior. The liquid actually can not be called water. The liquid is maybe made of hydrocarbons such as ethane and methane.
Let us dig more into exoplanets. Defining exoplanets, it is a planet that is outside of our solar system. The exoplanets Kepler-62f, Kepler-186f, and Kepler-442b are found to have the potential of having a life. Kepler-1649c and earth are somewhat similar. The size and an estimated temperature of Kepler01649c are similar to earth. However, this world is 300 light-years away from earth. The presence of water there also gives a sign of the presence of life. This newly found world is 1.06 times larger than the earth. There are more than 170 solar systems. And over two hundred more extrasolar planets.
Life On Mars
Mars is closest to the earth. Hence, we explore it more. But still, we do not know much about it. According to NASA, exploring Mars will help us to get the answer to the origin and existence of life. Mars is different from other planets. It has a climate and atmosphere and like earth, change in the climate has been noticed over its history. So the chances of having a life there increase. The environment of Mars has drastically changed over the years. Today it is not what it was in past years. Scientists believe that Mars has the capability to nurture life. Mars shows signs that microbial lives may have lived there billions of years ago.
In 1996, Dr. David McKay with his team of scientists found the fossils of bacteria. Later, NASA scientists took help from a robotic Mars rover to research more on Mars. Due to the similarities of Mars and Earth, Mars has always been the subject of interest. However, the surface of Mars is not supportable for humans. The radiation reduced air pressure, and lower oxygen is the reasons Mars is not favorable for the survival of humans.
Search For Technological Life
For finding extraterrestrial life scientists use advanced technology that is capable of detecting the signs of alien technology or biological signatures of life. Humans now have technological reach to other plants in search of life.
Technosignatures are a signal which is used for researching the existence of technological life in the universe. The term techno signatures are used for defining the search for extraterrestrial intelligence. One such techno signature is radio signals. Humans have been drifting radios and satellites into space for several years. Scientists are now taking a keen interest in proving the existence of technological life. But it will take them more investments and more than unexplained signals.
NASA is constantly supporting new projects to search for signs of technology in the universe that may lead them to evidence of intelligent life. The distance and travel time involved in sending human crews to Mars or missions beyond are too great. Landing rovers and robotic space probes are instruments that are capable of exploring a huge distance and providing wealthy information.
The existence of aliens has always been questioned. Over the years many claimed to spot the UFO but none was proved. So we can say that Earth has not been visited by any intelligent aliens yet. The Kepler space telescope has found many new worlds. Ever Since it has helped in search of aliens.
Researchers are trying their best to find life in the solar system. Water alone is not enough for having a life. It involves chemical ingredients such as carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus, hydrogen, and sulfur. Together they stir up and look for a source of energy.
Space technology has improved a lot over time. This improvement has led to the discovery of new planets. There are a lot of things beyond earth that we do not know. Science is all about figuring out the “why”.
Scientists and researchers are working hard together intending to find signs of life beyond earth. Hunt for life elsewhere in the universe will be forever.
For more articles click here.