Is extraterrestrial life hiding on our solar system’s water worlds?


Aquatic worlds are found in our own solar system, and life can hide among their layers of rock and ice, new studies suggest. Life can one day be found on worlds like Europa, Enceladus, Titan, Mars and maybe even (Pluto).

Inner Ocean Worlds (IWOWs) are common in our solar system, and similar planets and moons are likely to exist in other planetary systems, greatly increasing the possibility of extraterrestrial life.

“As we now know, in our solar system, Earth is an unusual type of oceanic water world because its oceans are on the outside. In contrast, an increasing number of worlds in our solar system have… shown… that they probably contain interior water oceans. As a result, oceanic water worlds are now considered common in our solar system… IWOWs appear to be particularly conducive to the development and maintenance of life, and perhaps of benefit to the development and maintenance of life ” , Dr. Alan Stern, planet specialist at the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) writes in a letter to the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference 2021.

Shields to the max!

Titan's oceans, normally hidden in an eternal cloud layer, can be seen in this infrared composite image, seen by the Cassini spacecraft.
Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech / Stéphane Le Mouélic / University of Nantes / Virginia Pasek / University of Arizona