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Life on other Planets

Life as we know it on earth is carbon based and requires a certain environment to survive. Even so, there are creatures on earth which seem to be able to survive in harsh environments, where the temperatures are very cold, or where there is little water or oxygen. It is environments like these which are similar to those found on other planets.

Sophisticated life forms are relative newcomers on Earth compared to bacteria and archaea. They arrived later because the Earth proved to be a healthy environment over a long period of time. Because the environment of other planets is more primitive, life on other planets (if it exists) may be primitive. If not, then life would have developed the ability to withstand otherworldly environments as well as finding material for food. We might have to imagine what such creatures would be like.

Primitive life forms may have an easier time in a harsh environment. All life will leave behind certain signs that it has been there. Scientists recently thought that they had found some of these signs on a Martian meteorite, but it turned out to be untrue. No concrete evidence of life anywhere other than life has been found.

Here we present a look an the environments of some places in the solar system; Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Io, Europa, Saturn, Titan, other moons, Uranus, Neptune, Triton, Pluto, comets, and interstellar space.

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Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part is sponsored in part through grants from federal agencies (NASA and NOAA), and partnerships with affiliated organizations, including the American Geophysical Union, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Earth System Information Partnership, the American Meteorological Society, the National Center for Science Education, and TERC. The American Geophysical Union and the American Geosciences Institute are Windows to the Universe Founding Partners. NESTA welcomes new Institutional Affiliates in support of our ongoing programs, as well as collaborations on new projects. Contact NESTA for more information. NASA ESIP NCSE HHMI AGU AGI AMS NOAA