Proof factors to oceans on different planets and moons, even inside our personal photo voltaic system. However Earth is the one identified planet (or moon) to have constant, secure our bodies of liquid water on its floor. In our photo voltaic system, Earth orbits across the solar in an space referred to as the liveable zone. The temperature inside this zone, together with an ample quantity of atmospheric stress, enable water to be liquid for lengthy intervals of time.
Scientists imagine a number of moons inside our photo voltaic system have vital subsurface liquid water deposits. Saturn’s moon Enceladus and Jupiter’s moon Europa are two examples. Each seem to have salty, liquid oceans lined with thick layers of ice on the floor. Scientists have noticed water plumes erupting from Enceladus, and imagine related plumes might be discovered on Europa. The existence of those geysers additionally tells scientists that these moons have a supply of power, maybe from gravitational forces or radiation — power that retains the oceans liquid beneath the ice and will even help life.
Past our photo voltaic system, scientists have discovered hundreds of exoplanets — planets that orbit different stars — together with some within the liveable zone. Utilizing mathematical fashions, researchers estimate that greater than 1 / 4 of identified exoplanets could have liquid water, although the bulk would have subsurface oceans like these on Europa and Enceladus.
The seek for liquid water is crucial to the seek for life past Earth. Whereas scientists initially centered the search on discovering planets with liquid water on their floor, that considering is altering. Right here on Earth, we’ve examples of life flourishing in a number of the most excessive circumstances, such because the complicated ecosystems round hydrothermal vents on the seafloor. Scientists are reconsidering whether or not life might exist beneath an icy floor, even inside our photo voltaic system on moons like Europa and Enceladus.