LONDON MEETING TO DISCUSS THE SEARCH FOR LIFE IN THE OUTER SOLAR SYSTEM.
The British Interplanetary Society will be hosting a one-day symposium entitled "The Outer Solar System, Europa, and the Possibility of Life" in London on Wednesday 24th May.
The meeting is open to members of the media and the general public, but pre-registration is recommended since there is a limited number of places.Discussions about the possibility of life on other worlds in the Solar System usually focus on Mars, where conditions may once have been suitable for life to evolve. Billions of years ago, Mars is thought to have had a warmer climate and liquid water on the surface.
However, over the last few years, data from the Galileo space probe, currently in orbit around Jupiter, have indicated that the large Jovian satellite Europa has a layer of liquid water beneath its icy crust. Many scientists are now considering the possibility that Europa's 'ocean' may contain microbial life.
Another cold world currently attracting a lot of scientific interest is Saturn's giant moon Titan, the only satellite in the Solar System with a significant atmosphere. Many scientists believe Titan's nitrogen-rich atmosphere may be similar to that on the ancient Earth - before the origin of life. Little is known about conditions on Titan because its surface is hidden beneath a thick blanket of orange 'smog', but this situation should change when NASA's Cassini spacecraft arrives at Saturn in 2004 and drops the European Space Agency's Huygens probe onto Titan's surface.
The latest discoveries about Europa and Titan will be presented at the BIS Symposium by UK scientists who are participating in these missions. Speakers will also discuss whether conditions in the Outer Solar System are suitable for life to evolve, future missions that may be required to search for life and the possibilities that exist for habitable planets and moons in recently discovered solar systems around distant stars.
THE OUTER SOLAR SYSTEM, EUROPA, AND THE POSSIBILITY OF LIFE.
The Jovian System from the Galileo Jupiter Orbiter:
Comparative Aspects of the Systems of Jupiter and Saturn:
Europa and Other Icy Satellites as Possible Abodes of Life:
"Bright Terrain" Morphology on Ganymede:
Titan - Cassini-Huygens and the Initial Exploration of Its Surface Environment:
Life Outside the Habitable Zone:
Sub-Glacial Lakes of Antarctica - An Analogue for Europa:
Comets - Vehicles for Prebiotic Compounds?:
Are Discovery-Style Low Cost Missions to Explore Outer Solar System Bodies Feasible?:
The Current State of Play for Imaging Extra-Solar Planets: