WSU Astrobiology Seminar Series 2006/7 Academic Year

Friday, September 8, 2:10-3:00 p.m, CUE 203
Dirk Schulze-Makuch

Life in the Solar System and Beyond


Liquid water is ubiquitous in our Solar System and likely occurs in various extraterrestrial locations such as the Martian subsurface, water-rich clouds at Venus, the putative subsurface ocean of Jupiter's satellite Europa, and in ammonia-water puddles on the surface of Saturn's moon Titan. Given the presence of a suitable solvent (such as liquid water), an energy source, and the availability of organic molecules, all of these localities are potentially habitable zones that could be associated with microbial life. Titan is of special interest because its environment resembles early Earth conditions in many ways, and because the presence of liquid hydrocarbons on its surface opens up the possibility for the existence of organisms that are based on a biochemistry that is very different from the one case of life with which we are familiar with.