Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New study of solar system speculates about life on other planets

14.09.2006
A comprehensive review by leading scientists about our Solar System which speculates on the possibility of life on other planets has been published.

Solar System Update brings together the work of 19 physicists, astronomers, and climatologists from Europe and the USA in 12 chapters on the sun, the main planets and comets.

The book, co-authored by Dr Philippe Blondel, of the University of Bath, highlights the many recent discoveries and in particular the amount of water, one of the essentials for life, found in the Solar System.

Recent studies have revealed ice in craters on Mercury, the closest planet to the sun, and that liquid water may once have existed on the surface of Mars, and may still be there underground.

In addition, liquid water may exist on moons around Jupiter, in particular Europa, Ganymede and Callisto, underneath a surface of ice.

In his chapter The Habitability of Mars: Past and Present, Thomas McCollom, of the Center for Astrobiology at the University of Colorado, USA, says that though the temperatures on Mars, as low as minus 120 Centigrade, mean that water cannot exist on the surface, there may be a "planet-wide liquid aquifer at some depth in its crust." There is also geological evidence that water has flowed on the surface in the past.

"It seems increasingly apparent that habitable environments very likely exist on Mars today, and may have been considerably more diverse and abundant in the past," he writes.

In his chapter The Icy Moons of Jupiter, Richard Greenberg, of the Department of Planetary Sciences at the University of Arizona, USA, says: "There is an unusually strong motivation to continue to pursue studies of the icy satellites."

He says that three large moons of Jupiter "probably have liquid water layers, and one, Europa, almost certainly has an ocean just below the surface. Naturally liquid water raises the possibility of extraterrestrial life."

However, if the surface ice were very thick, this would cut the water below off from oxygen and sunlight which are important for most forms of life on Earth, and so might have prevented life from developing.

Dr Blondel, who works in the University of Bath's Department of Physics, took 18 months to edit the book, with his co-editor Dr John Mason.

"This book sets out how much water and ice there is in the solar system," said Dr Blondel. "This obviously has implications for our search for extra-terrestrial life.

"By understanding better how the climates of planets like Mars and Venus have evolved, we can understand more about climate change on Earth.

"For instance, the very hot and cloudy climate of Venus is likely to have developed after a runaway greenhouse effect, and the more we know about this the more we can understand some of the challenges caused by our climate change on Earth. "

Tony Trueman | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.bath.ac.uk

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation
12.12.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Quantenoptik

nachricht Telescopes team up to study giant galaxy
12.12.2017 | International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

Im Focus: Successful Mechanical Testing of Nanowires

With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong

Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

12.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Multi-year submarine-canyon study challenges textbook theories about turbidity currents

12.12.2017 | Earth Sciences

Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

12.12.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>