Fountains of Optimism for Life Way Out There – Article Summary

Fountains of Optimism for Life Way Out There

In “Fountains of Optimism for Life Way Out There” Gugliotta (2011) gives an insight of the solar system, the possibility of other plants that may be able to support life. According to him, for a planet to be able to support life, it needs to have liquid water and carbon. The article reflects on the work of scientists for the last 20 years regarding the study of the solar system with intention of identifying other planets that can manage to support life. The core to the ability to support life in the solar system according to scientists lies on the presence of liquid water. There is no place other than earth that appeared to have the required physical attributes for the existence of liquid water other than maybe Europa that perhaps covered a subterranean ocean and ice-covered moon in Jupiter. These physical attributes may include gravity, antifreeze chemicals, geology, and radioactivity.

Presence of water has been demonstrated to be likely and even possible on Titan and Enceladus Saturn’s moon, on Venus and Mars, and even on two asteroids outer-belt. However, the life proof can only be established when the drops of this water is examined under a microscope to determine its content. Water has been commonly found in the solar system in form of ice. However, most planets lack elements to sun heated particles together, and they easily sublimate. The lack of balance between pressure and temperature in the solar system is the major reason for lack liquid water.

NASA has been trying to study tidal forces and other features in the solar system. An Enceladus was established in 2005 which contained a diameter of about 300 miles. The discovered Enceladus was discharging grains of water ice from South Polar Region cracks. These grains were regarded as Saturn’s E-ring dust which was suspected to originate from subsurface source of liquid water. A lot has been discovered including methane lakes and hydrocarbon sand dunes in Titan. More research has been done to determine interaction between various elements in different products discovered in the solar system. However, despite of over 20 years of research, there is only speculation that some planets have higher ability to support life than others. But there is no certainty that they can support life for sure.

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