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Beyond Earthly Skies

Testing Life’s Cosmic Ubiquity

8 Feb 2013, 10:48 UTC
Testing Life’s Cosmic Ubiquity
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Is life common in the universe? The successful detection of a second independent origin of life within our own solar system would be absolute proof that life is common in the universe. Our solar system is just one out of billions of other planetary systems in the galaxy and if life can arise twice in a single planetary system, then the galaxy is expected to be teeming with billions of living worlds. Mars, Europa and Titan are undoubtedly the best places in the solar system to search for the existence of life. Of these three worlds, Titan may prove to be the best place to look for a second independent origin of life in the solar system and to test life’s cosmic ubiquity.Throughout Earth’s history, hypervelocity impacts caused by asteroids and comets crashing into the surface of the Earth are known to be able to throw up rock material into space. These rocks can carry terrestrial life within them through the vacuum of space and a tiny fraction of these rocks do eventually find their way to the surfaces of other planets and moons in the solar system. Mars and Europa have environments just beneath their surface where the conditions ...

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