What lifeform could live on Jupiter or Mars?
As far as we know, no life exists on either Jupiter or Mars.
At least not anything like ourselves. However, if life were to exist on
either of these planets, what kind of life would it be?
Jupiter is a rather violent planet that has really severe storms and no solid
surface. Its surface temperature is a chilly -110°C, but its lower atmosphere is
extremely hot. If life did exist
here, it would have to live in the upper atmosphere. If it lived in the lower
atmosphere, it would burn up in the heat. The lifeform would have to breathe
hydrogen or helium. It would have to eat other chemicals, such as methane or
ammonia. Any lifeform on Jupiter would be totally different from anything we
see here on Earth!
Mars is more likely to have life that is similar to ours here on Earth. Mars'
atmosphere is much thinner than
ours and consists of mainly carbon dioxide. Its surface temperature is -60°C. The only
water that exists on Mars is in its North polar cap. Martian soil is seemingly unable to
support life, since it has less organic matter in it than the Moon's surface. If life did exist here, it would
probably live under the frozen Northern polar cap. Here tiny anaerobic microbes could
live,eat, and breathe.
These microbes could be much like microbes that live right here on Earth. In seemingly
inhospitable Antarctica, millions and millions of microbes live under the polar cap. A
frozen lake there, known as Lake Vanda, is teeming with life...much to the surprise of
hydrologists and marine biologists who found it there. In fact, in recent months there
has been much debate as to whether life did exist on Mars long ago. We'll just have to wait
To learn more about possible life on other planets, read Cosmos by Carl
Sagan. To learn more about weird life that lives in Earth's southern polar cap, read
Water, Ice, and Stone by Green.
Submitted by Mike (Wisconsin, USA)
(February 2, 1998)
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