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Where Might There Be Life in the Solar System?

Titan flyover - NASA

The Earth’s biosphere contains all the known ingredients necessary for life as we know it. Broadly speaking these are: liquid water, at least one source of energy, and an inventory of biologically useful elements and molecules. But the recent discovery of possibly biogenic phosphine in the clouds of Venus reminds us that at least some of these ingredients exist elsewhere in the solar system too. So where are the other most promising locations for extraterrestrial life? Titan Titan is the largest moon of Saturn and the only moon in the solar system with a substantial atmosphere. It contains a thick … Read more

SPACE: Neptune’s Moons Locked in a Strange Dance

Neptune - pixabay

Astronomers have discovered an unusual pattern around Neptune. The gas giant’s innermost moons are doing everything in their power to steer clear from one another in a weird, zigzagging pattern that astronomers are calling a “dance of avoidance.” Thalassa and Naiad’s orbital paths sit no farther apart than Chicago and Miami, about 1,150 miles (1,850 kilometers). But their zigzagging path around each other as they orbit Neptune ensures that the moons themselves never get that close. Naiad moves faster than Thalassa, circling Neptune in 7 hours versus its twin’s orbital time of 7.5 hours. Every time Naiad passes the slower … Read more