Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


New study of solar system speculates about life on other planets

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:

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Gamma ray camera offers new view on ultra-high energy electrons in plasma
28.10.2016 | American Physical Society

nachricht Scientists measure how ions bombard fusion device walls
28.10.2016 | American Physical Society

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: Novel light sources made of 2D materials

Physicists from the University of Würzburg have designed a light source that emits photon pairs. Two-photon sources are particularly well suited for tap-proof data encryption. The experiment's key ingredients: a semiconductor crystal and some sticky tape.

So-called monolayers are at the heart of the research activities. These "super materials" (as the prestigious science magazine "Nature" puts it) have been...

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Prototype device for measuring graphene-based electromagnetic radiation created

28.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Gamma ray camera offers new view on ultra-high energy electrons in plasma

28.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

When fat cells change their colour

28.10.2016 | Life Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>