Life Elsewhere in our Solar System –Surprised or Not?

If the day comes when we find life elsewhere in our solar system, How surprised should we really be? Considering the relatively close proximity to a planet that is teeming with life, shouldn’t we be surprised NOT to find life (no matter how uncomplicated) on another heavenly body?

But, at the same time, my gut tells me we will find nothing. That life is exclusive to the earth, at least in this system. All that said, I think I’d be floored to the discovery of life elsewhere, even if it somehow originated from earth.

Also, what do we think a discovery of that magnitude would do to boost human space exploration?

Frankly, I’m suprised we haven’t found any already.

I mean, the presence of life on earth is hardly suprising. COMPLEX life is more of a rarity, but it seems as though all that is necesarry to create simple unicellular life is the right chemical soup, electrical discharge, and patience. The discovery of simple protozoa on Mars, say, seems inevitable (unless they have died out by now, which would be somewhat depressing, but there may be archaelogical evidence), and the recent discovery of possible water on Saturn’s moon suggests life there, too.

As for boosting space exploration- meh. While space germs would be incredibly scientifically significant, I would expect most of the population to react, as best, apathetically. On the other hand, discovery of some ruins or something- THAT would stir things up.

Hmm. What sort of resources would it take to fake an alien spacecraft crash on, say, Mars? That would get us into space…

I wouldn’t be that surprised if we were to find microbial life somewhere else in the solar system. But I think it more likely that we wont.

Suprised? No.

Delighted, thrilled, yes. But not suprised.

There’s Life out there, somewhere.

And when we find it…

…it will kill, & eat us.

Oh my, yes.


In our solar system? Yes. Everywhere else in our solar system doesn’t seem all that conducive to life.

We may already have found it.

Actually so far ANY life is a singular event (as far as we know)…

AND as far as we understand life (of anysort) requires LIQUID water… which (as far as I know) has only been found 4 places in the solar system (including earth)

Sorry, should have said “complex life would be far more suprising”.

I would be most surprised if life did not exist elsewhere in the solar system. As has been pointed out, where there’s liquid water, there’s the possiblity of at least microbial life forms. We already know that there are terrestrial microbes that can thrive under even the most extreme conditions, so I think the odds are that similar organisms exist elsewhere in our system.

However, I think the odds of us actually finding such life in the near future are remote, just due to the difficulty of physically examining sites such as Titan or Ganymede for signs of life. Unless, say, an meteorite teeming with ET bacteria lands in someone’s backyard or something.

I wouldn’t be all that surprised myself. I think there are some places in our solar system that could very easily be quite genial to life. Europa is one where I expect we will eventually find life, and perhaps even complex life of some kind. There are a few others as well. As long as you have liquid water and energy for long periods of time I think you’ll find life…and there are certainly places out there with liquid water and energy.

I doubt it will spur on a renewal in the (US) publics interest in space though. I think that the next big push is going to be when someone figures out how to make space economically viable as a resource to exploit…i.e. when we figure out that all the stuff we could ever need is out there waiting for us to go out and get it. And of course figure out a WAY to do so. I have every faith that we will do this when we choose to…


No, I refuse to believe we are a fluke. There’s life out there, and as Gil Grissom on CSI said, if they are smart enough to travel here, they are smart enough to leave us alone.

I strongly believe that life exists elsewhere in our universe… even within our galaxy. But, even at this cursory, overall glance we’ve had at our own solar system, I feel we would have seen SOME evidence already that there my exist some life on another nearby world. If microbial evolution took hold on a moon like Enceladus, even if it had half the time earth did for developing organisms, wouldn’t it already be smothered in life-forms? If our planet is any clue… Once life takes hold, it practically takes over.

I’m not ruling it out, but it’s not looking good.

If life is discovered elsewhere in our solar system, that will be an astonishing discovery.

If our solar system is conclusively proven to be devoid of nonterrestrial life, that will be an astonishing discovery.

I win either way. :slight_smile:

I would probably be surprised that we’d discovered it, because we’ve only got so much capability to look at this point. But I wouldn’t be surprised that it existed. There was a time I would have, but it seems too likely at this point.

Wouldn’t be surprised.

I wouldn’t be surprised - in fact I think it’ll come to pass - that scientists convincingly demonstrate that some microbes on this planet evolved independently- that life has evolved more than once here. In particular, I think those underground bacteria that hang out around geothermal fissures may not be related to us at all.

I wouldn’t be suprised and I would lay money that it will be discovered in my lifetime. Liquid water seems to have a suprising capacity to generate life even in extreme conditions and we keep finding it.

What are the other 3? :confused:

There have been water oceans on Mars.

Considering the extreme toughness of Earth life I’m certain that had there ever been a time that Mars had life it would still be around and considering that Mars apparently at one point was very hospitable to life I’m very puzzled that none has been found. But after all the missions to Mars I would be surprised if something should come up now.

In our solar system? Yes-I don’t think any of the other planets or moons are capable of supporting life.

In our galaxy? Hell no!

No; we have many genes in common.