Critical for Life: Where is Water in the Solar System...and where Did it Come From?
January 5th (Tuesday), 6 p.m., via Zoom (online) – Open to Public. Presentation: “Critical for Life: Where is Water in the Solar System, and Where Did it Come From?”; Presented by Mike Adler, Geologists of JH
Life as we know it can not exist without water, so the search for life beyond our Earth has focused on identifying the increasing list of places elsewhere in our solar system where water is found.
Over the last ten years we have learned that water exists in surprising places. Analysis from the New Horizon’s mission to Pluto strongly suggests that there is a liquid buried ocean on Pluto in spite of the temperatures as cold as -400F there. The Cassini mission to Saturn has discovered water geysers and a likely subsurface ocean on Enceladus. Jupiter’s moon Europa and Ganymede also likely have a buried liquid ocean because of tidal heating effects from Jupiter’s strong gravity. Closer to home Mars shows signs of having surface oceans during its early existence and large areas of buried ice have been detected. Before it was boiled off by a runaway greenhouse effect Venus likely has as much water as Earth does now. Then there is the intense debate as to how Earth acquired its water. Possibilities include bombardment by comets and asteroids and recent evidence suggests that it was incorporated into the Earth during its formation.=
Overall it is estimated that the solar system contained as much as 50 times the amount of water present on the Earth and water may be common on exo-planets. In this talk we will analyze where water exists in our solar system and beyond and how it got there.