Europe joins the search for life elsewhere in the Universe
- We're pretty sure that we're the only intelligent beings lurking in our Solar System. There's plenty of excitement, though, about finding micro-organisms elsewhere in our neighbourhood. Recent discoveries on Earth suggest that where there's organic (carbon-based) chemistry, water and an energy source, there's life - no matter what the conditions. As these essentials are commonplace in space, there's a good chance that life is too - or so the argument goes.
Living organisms have been found alive and well in environments on Earth so apparently hostile that the presence of life on other Solar System bodies seems quite feasible. Mars, the planet that most closely resembles Earth, and Europa, one of Jupiter's moons, both show evidence of water, past or present, and so are the focus of plans to look for life elsewhere in the Solar System. The possibility that Earth is not the only home for life, however, begs questions.
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