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Water Water Everywhere

Earth isn't the only planet with water – we just need to know where to look.

Earth isn’t the only planet with water – we just need to know where to look.

Everyone knows that Earth is a “water-world,” with oceans covering 71% of its surface and at least as much contained within our planet’s mantle deep below its crust. But there’s also liquid water to be found elsewhere in the Solar System: on Mars, on the dwarf planets Ceres and Pluto, and also on the icy moons of Jupiter, Saturn, and Neptune.

NASA is on the hunt for this water, for the main reason that it’s the key ingredient for the evolution of Earth-type life. Where liquid water exists, if there are organic molecules and energy sources as well then the stage is set for life having evolved independently of Earth. And if we can find that that’s the case somewhere, anywhere else in the Solar System, then that would be a huge – no, make that giant – step toward answering the Big Question: are we alone in the Universe?

Today NASA scientists held a conference about the search for oceans beyond Earth, and how we are currently and plan to find out where and how much is (or even was) out there. An infographic accompanied the press materials released.

“What we’re finding out is that the Solar System really is a soggy place.”

– Dr. Jim Green, NASA’s Planetary Science Director

Check out the full infographic below, along with a video of the conference.

Click to view the full-size graphic (may take a few moments to fully load up.)

Ocean Worlds: an infographic from JPL's Web Producer Kim Orr (NAS/JPL)

Ocean Worlds: an infographic from JPL’s Web Producer Kim Orr (NASA/JPL)

Part of the Taurus molecular cloud, 450 light-years from Earth. Credit: ESO.

Part of the Taurus molecular cloud, 450 light-years from Earth. Credit: ESO.

The chemical elements in water, hydrogen and oxygen, are some of the most abundant elements in the universe. Astronomers see the signature of water in giant molecular clouds between the stars, in disks of material that represent newborn planetary systems, and in the atmospheres of giant planets orbiting other stars.

“NASA science activities have provided a wave of amazing findings related to water in recent years that inspire us to continue investigating our origins and the fascinating possibilities for other worlds, and life, in the universe,” said Ellen Stofan, chief scientist for the agency. “In our lifetime, we may very well finally answer whether we are alone in the solar system and beyond.”

Read more on NASA’s website here.

Source: NASA/JPL

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About Jason Major

Jason is a Rhode Island-based graphic designer, photographer, nature lover, space exploration fanatic, and coffee addict. In no particular order.

Posted on April 7, 2015, in Dwarf Planets, Earth, Exoplanets, Moons and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. I love your blog. I really enjoy reading about the Universe and Physics and whatnot.

    Like

  2. Very interesting new 😉
    I’ll be very happy that in my lifetime we find water and life in another world. A world beyond the Earth…
    Jeff Barani from Vence (France)

    Like

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