Archive for the 'Astrobiology' Category

Goldilocks, and other Habitable Zones for Life

Heard of the Goldilocks zone?

It’s the idea that an area of space around a star will be at the right temperature for life to exist. Not too hot, not too cold, hence Goldilocks.

It’s a bit like standing around a campfire on a very cold night. Stand too far away and you freeze, stand too close and you catch on fire and burn to death.

It’s the same with planets orbiting stars too, if they’re too far away then water freezes and life can’t emerge, and if they orbit too close the planet is roasting hot and nothing can live.

It gets a bit more complex than this though, but complex in a fun way. Oh and its also got some pretty big implications for the search for extraterrestrial life…

Continue reading ‘Goldilocks, and other Habitable Zones for Life’

Life in our Solar System – Mars

In this series of posts I’ve looked at planetary bodies in our Solar System that could support life, from the moons of Saturn and Jupiter, to the cloud layers of Jupiter itself, to the ephemeral-once-jungles of Venus, I’ve even looked at Earth itself.

Now one of my favourites, Mars, the Red Planet.

Continue reading ‘Life in our Solar System – Mars’

Life in our Solar System – Earth

In previous posts I’ve looked at some likely, and some less likely, candidates for planets or moons in our solar system that could harbour life, including Jupiter, three of it’s moons, two of Saturn’s moons, and Mars and Venus.

Now its time for Earth. Yep, you read right.

In 1990 NASA used the Galileo spacecraft to look for life on Earth. Why bother you scream, whilst hurling your cup of tea violently against the wall? Well, NASA did it to test how well spacecraft like Galileo can find life on planets and moons from space. Call it a proof of concept, if NASA can find life on Earth, then at least they know the tech works, and hopefully won’t miss signs of life on other planets.

Here’s what they found on Earth:

Continue reading ‘Life in our Solar System – Earth’

Life in our Solar System – Venus

In previous posts I’ve looked at the possibility that alien life could be found in our solar system, on three of Jupiter’s moons, in Jupiter itself, and on two of Saturn’s moons.

This time we’re moving nearer to home, to the planet closest to our own, Venus, the second rock from the Sun.

Continue reading ‘Life in our Solar System – Venus’

Life in our Solar System – Titan and Enceladus

In a couple of previous posts I looked at the possibility of life existing on some of Jupiter’s moons, including Europa, and then the possibility of life existing on Jupiter itself.

In this post we’ll head further out into the solar system and look at two of Saturn’s moons, Enceladus and Titan.

Continue reading ‘Life in our Solar System – Titan and Enceladus’

Life in our Solar System – Jupiter

In a previous post I talked about the possibility of life existing on, or in, some of the moons of Jupiter, with Europa being the best candidate.

But how about life existing within Jupiter itself?

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Life in our Solar System – Europa, Ganymede & Callisto

Astrobiology is all about finding alien life, and many astrobiologists believe life could be found in our Solar System, on Mars, on moons like Titan, Europa or Enceladus, and potentially on other bodies, like Kuiper Belt Objects.

In this post I’ll look at why some scientists think life may exist on Europa, and maybe even Ganymede and Callisto too, three of Jupiter’s largest moons.

So what’s so special about theses ice worlds?

Continue reading ‘Life in our Solar System – Europa, Ganymede & Callisto’


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