Essay on The study of extraterrestrial life

Submitted By zienkat910
Words: 457
Pages: 2

The most promising places to find extraterrestrial life are in our solar system. Most of emphasis has been on Mars, because of the frozen ice caps on the poles. But the fact is that we would probably (if at all) find only signs of life that have been extinct for millions of years. There are some places in our solar system that are promising in terms of finding life. One of the most exciting places for housing extra-terrestrial life in our solar system is Saturn's moon Enceladus. At just about 314 miles in diameter, it's minuscule compared to Earth, which is nearly 8,000 miles across. Since it reflects nearly all the faint sunlight that hits it, Enceladus has a surface temperature of minus 330 degrees Fahrenheit. These features, at first glance, may make Enceladus seem like a terrible place to look for life. But there's a good chance that there is a vast ocean trapped underneath the moon's frozen crust. NASA's Cassini spacecraft has made several fly-bys of Enceladus since 2005. On its first pass, Cassini found an atmosphere around the moon, suggesting that gases were escaping from the surface or interior of Enceladus. When the space craft went around again, it saw four large cracks near its south pole that astronomers dubbed "tiger stripes." Later observations showed that the tiger-striped region of Enceladus was much warmer than expected, & showed that jets within the stripes were venting plumes of gases & solids: methane, carbon dioxide & but more importantly, water vapor & ice. Another possible hotspot of life is circling Saturn about 611,000 miles away from Enceladus' orbit, the moon Titan. Titan's the second largest moon in the solar system, dwarfed only by Jupiter's moon Ganymede. It also has a dense, hazy atmosphere rich in nitrogen. It is the only body besides Earth that has confirmed liquid lakes on its surface,…