Ocean Worlds: The Search for Life
NASA scientists discuss the search for life on the ocean worlds of our solar system and beyond.
Watch this video on the NASA Goddard YouTube channel.
Universal Production Music: “Superluminal” by Lee Groves and Peter George Marett; “Earthrise,” “Prism Lights,” and “Uncertain Ahead” by Ben Niblett and Jon Cotton; “Infinite Sky” and “Human Architecture” by Andy Blythe and Marten Joustra; “Imagine If” by Paul Werner
Complete transcript available.
Life as we know it requires three ingredients: energy, organic molecules, and liquid water. Our search for life beyond Earth is a search for planets, dwarf planets, and moons that harbor substantial liquid water. We call these places “ocean worlds.”
We’re learning that ocean worlds could be ubiquitous in the galaxy. Just in our solar system, we have found evidence of oceans on Saturn’s moons Titan and Enceladus; Jupiter’s moons Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto; Neptune’s moon Triton; and on Pluto. We also believe that Venus and Mars may have had oceans billions of years ago. Could they have supported life?
NASA’s research on oceans also includes our own planet and helps us to better understand the role of Earth’s ocean in our planet’s climate system. As we learn more about our own oceans, we will better understand worlds beyond Earth. Discover more about ocean worlds.
Carrie Anderson gives an overview of Saturn’s small moon Enceladus, and its surprising potential for habitability.
Universal Production Music: “Earthrise” by Ben Niblett and Jon Cotton
Melissa Trainer and Carrie Anderson give an overview of Saturn’s large moon Titan, and its exotic yet Earthlike features.
Universal Production Music: “Uncertain Ahead” by Ben Niblett and Jon Cotton
Avi Mandell and Lucas Paganini discuss Jupiter’s moon Europa, where their discovery of water vapor plumes indicates the presence of a subsurface ocean.
Universal Production Music: “Prism Lights” by Ben Niblett and Jon Cotton
Lynnae Quick, Avi Mandell, and Carrie Anderson preview the search ocean worlds beyond our own solar system, and the implications for life throughout the galaxy.
Universal Production Music: “Human Architecture” by Andy Blythe and Marten Joustra; “Imagine If” by Paul Werner
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NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center