A Tilted Ocean World Could Possibly Host Life

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How does living in an endless ocean sound? For some, a perpetual sea-side view may be a dream come true. And that dream may already be a reality for extraterrestrial life, according to a new study which suggests that watery exoplanets tilted on their axis in just the right way would boast a "rather mild" and habitable climate.

Experts have been searching for planets outside or solar system that could support life for a long time now. Nearly 2,000 exoplanets beyond our solar system have been identified to date, and NASA experts and their colleagues recently affirmed their belief that a stunning 10 to 20 percent of all the stars in the sky may host habitable planets.

NASA Planning Trip to Europa

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Astronomers believe the rough, icy surface of Jupiter's moon, Europa, is the most likely place in the solar system to harbour alien life.

Now Nasa has set aside £14.6 million ($25 million) to design probes that could reveal whether Europa is, in fact, habitable.

The agency yesterday asked scientists to come forward with potential experiments for a Europa probe that could be launched in the 2020s and arrive at the icy satellite within three years of take-off.

Finding Life on Other Planets

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Scientists looking for signs of life in the universe -- as well as another planet like our own -- are a lot closer to their goal than people realize.

That was the consensus of a panel on the search for life in the universe held at NASA headquarters Monday in Washington. The discussion focused not only on the philosophical question of whether we're alone in the universe but also on the technological advances made in an effort to answer that question.

"We believe we're very, very close in terms of technology and science to actually finding the other Earth and our chance to find signs of life on another world," said Sara Seager, a MacArthur Fellow and professor of planetary science and physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
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