Every weekend when I can I do an interactive live video chat on Google+ where people can ask me questions about space and astronomy. I call it Q&BA, and it’s always fun to hear what questions are on people’s minds.
Apropos of my recent post about Saturn’s moon Enceladus, I got this question: "Which moon has the best chance for life: Titan, Europa, or Enceladus?" This is a common question, and worth exploring! Here’s what I said:
Mars is still an interesting place to look for life, but those moons — all three — are very, very enticing. I’d love to see us launching future space probes with some icy targets in their sights.
[P.S. The aspect ratio of the video is stretchy for some reason; the video looked fine before I uploaded it to YouTube. I'll try to track this problem down.]
I have an archive of Q&BA links and videos. Take a look and see if there are other ones that tickle your imagination.
- Q&BA: Can we build a space habitat?
- Q&BA: The Science of Science Fiction
- Q&BA: How does a gravity slingshot work?
- Q&BA: Why spend money on NASA?
- Q&BA: What happens if you are exposed to the vacuum of space?
There has been a bit of an uproar the past day or so that scientists have found evidence of life on Saturn’s giant moon Titan. As soon as I saw the press release I knew this was going to be a problem. So let’s be clear:
First, have we found life on Titan? No.
Have we found evidence that there might be life on Titan? Sorta. The results are preliminary and not yet confirmed; in fact, some of the evidence is from computer modeling and has not been directly observed.
Bear in mind as well that evidence is not proof. Evidence just means an observation was made that is consistent with life on the moon, but doesn’t say much else. There are non-biological explanations for the observations as well.
Of course, speculation is running rampant, so much so that Chris McKay, an exobiologist who studies Titan, has released an article clearing things up.