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Is There Extraterrestrial Life Here In The Solar System

Deep in our solar system, a new era of exploration is unfolding. Beneath the thick ice of Europa; in the vapor plumes on Enceladus; and within the methane lakes of Titan, scientists are hunting for extraterrestrial life.

These moons are ‘ocean worlds’— they contain liquid oceans, which can support the formation of life. Does life exist on ocean worlds? Augusto Carballido explores the possibility.


Science fiction writers have had this covered for decades. Arthur C. Clarke described this situation in his excellent 1982 novel 2010; you can also see it in the excellent 1984 movie of the same name.


Update 10-Mar-2024: Here's a nice quote from Redemption Cairn by Stanley G. Weinbaum, published in 1936 in Astounding Science Fiction:

We weren’t to stop at lo, but were landing directly on Europa, our destination, the third moon outward from the vast molten globe of Jupiter. In some ways Europa is the queerest little sphere in the Solar System, and for many years it was believed to be quite uninhabitable. It is, too, as far as seventy per cent of its surface goes, but the remaining area is a wild and weird region.

This is the mountainous hollow in the face toward Jupiter, for Europa, like the Moon, keeps one face always toward its primary. Here in this vast depression, all of the tiny world’s scanty atmosphere is collected, gathered like little lakes and puddles into the valleys between mountain ranges that often pierce through the low-lying air into the emptiness of space.

Often enough a single valley forms a microcosm sundered by nothingness from the rest of the planet, generating its own little rainstorms under pygmy cloud banks, inhabited by its indigenous life, untouched by, and unaware, of all else.

In the ephemeris, Europa is dismissed prosaically with a string of figures: diameter, 2099 M. — period, 3 Least of all is the ephemeris concerned with the queer forms that crawl now and then right up out of the air pools, to lie on the vacuum-bathed peaks exactly as strange fishes flopped their way out of the Earthly seas to bask on the sands at the close of the Devonian age.

End update.

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