Earth isn’t only ocean world in our Solar System. Oceans could exist in diverse forms on Moons and dwarf planets ,offering clues in the quest to discover life beyond our home planet.
The celestial bodies in our solar system that represent the best candidate for oceanic worlds are enlisted below with detailed description.
Earth- The Terrestrial Planet
Our home planet Earth is the only place we know of where life exists .Earth is called the ” Ocean Planet” because it is covered mostly by water ( 71 percent water and 29 percent land).
Earth is 1 AU from the sun .That’s because one of the things that make our lives on earth possible is our distance from the Sun. We’re not too close to the sun ,when it is burning up and we’re not too far away,where it it’s really cold.
Earth has what’s called an active ocean.Our oceans have systems and patterns that keep our planet working.
Ceres – A dwarf Planet
Well Ceres isn’t a moon and also it isn’t a planet . Ceres is the largest object in asteroid belt between planets mars and Jupiter.
There are clues that Ceres may have salty liquid below the surface and that it could have an ocean deep underground but Scientists can’t say for sure .
This makes Ceres a “A possible Ocean World”
Europa- Moon Of Jupiter
Scientists have strong evidence that there’s a salty ocean on Jupiter’s moon Europa beneath a layer of ice. Europa is stretched and squeezed by Jupiter’s gravity as it orbits the planet. This process heats Europa’s ocean and keeps it from freezing. The heat may also melt parts of the moon’s outer shell, creating lakes within the ice. NASA is designing a spacecraft that it will send to study Europa sometime in the 2020s. There are lot of clues that Europa has an active ocean. If it does, that means the ocean may be moving chemical nutrients that are useful to microbes (tiny living things) from its rocky interior and icy crust into the ocean. If scientists can confirm that Europa’s ocean is active, it will be a major discovery. This is because similar cycles of activity affect Earth’s ocean and help make life here possible. For now, though, Europa’s ocean is thought of as “possibly active.”
Ganymede- Moon of Jupiter
Jupiter’s moon Ganymede is the largest moon in our solar system. It is also the only moon with its own magnetic field. Scientists have found clues that Ganymede may have a large, underground, saltwater ocean. The moon may even have several layers of ice and water sandwiched between its crust and core. While there is a good chance that Ganymede has an ocean, it’s less likely to have things living in it. That’s because the ocean is probably trapped between layers of ice. If it is trapped, there might not be a way for nutrients – key ingredients for life on Earth – to reach the ocean from above or below. So Ganymede is what we call a “locked” ocean world.
Callisto- Moon Of Jupiter
The deepest known place on Earth is the Mariana Trench in the Pacific Ocean. It is more than 6 miles deep. Jupiter’s moon Callisto may also have an ocean about that deep. But on Callisto, this ocean is trapped below an ice layer that is covered in craters and estimated to be 60 miles thick! So if Callisto were a layered cake, it would take a big fork to get down to the ocean layer .Because of that thick ice layer covering Callisto’s ocean, it probably doesn’t have any creatures or other kinds of life inside it. Callisto, like Ganymede, is considered a “locked” ocean world.
Enceladus- Moon Of Saturn
Scientists have discovered there’s a global ocean inside Saturn’s moon Enceladus. This body of water is under the moon’s icy crust. But there are deep cracks (nicknamed “tiger stripes“) in the shell, near the south pole, that are letting some of the ocean’s water escape. While flying by Enceladus, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft took pictures of these jets of water escaping from the moon and even grabbed samples to determine what the jets are made of. Water from the ocean is shooting up to the surface through the cracks, providing “free samples” for spacecraft that pass by.
Titan – The Moon Of Saturn
Saturn’s moon Titan is covered in a thick haze that makes it hard to know what’s going on beneath it. But NASA’s Cassini mission has helped us make new discoveries. The Cassini spacecraft started exploring Saturn and its moons in 2004 and flew by Titan many times. The spacecraft also dropped a probe onto Titan that collected images and information as it floated down to the surface. Thanks to the mission, scientists now believe that Titan has a very salty ocean under its outer, icy crust. Since the ocean might be in contact with a rocky core, some scientists wonder if the ocean could be a place that has the chemical ingredients for life. Titan is a double ocean world since it also has lakes and seas on its surface. However, these features are made of chemicals that are not ideal for life as we know it on Earth. It has locked oceans
Mimas- Moon Of Saturn
Scientists can study how a moon or planet moves to learn about what might be inside. Scientists who studied the movements of Saturn’s moon Mimas found that it wobbled much more than they expected. One reason might be that the moon could have an ocean 15 to 20 miles (25 to 30 km) below its surface. Or the wobble could be caused by a football-shaped core at the center of the moon. It will take more scientific study before anyone knows for sure what is below the surface of this crater-covered moon that looks strikingly similar to the Death Star from “Star Wars.”
Triton – Moon Of Neptune
Neptune’s moon Triton was named after a Greek god of the sea, but scientists aren’t sure whether there are any oceans on Triton. Geysers that spew nitrogen gas can be found all across the icy moon. There is also evidence of volcanic activity. All of this activity makes scientists wonder about the possibility of an ocean below Triton’s surface. Voyager 2 is the only spacecraft to have ever visited Triton and that was in 1989. So there is still more science that needs to be done before anyone can say for sure whether Triton is an ocean world.
Pluto- The Dwarf Planet
In 2015, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft made the first up-close flyby of Pluto. The spacecraft collected new information and images that are helping scientists learn more about the faraway world. Even before the flyby, there was some evidence that Pluto has an ocean beneath its surface. Scientists are still studying all the new information they have collected. But we may get more clues about Pluto’s potential as an ocean world soon.