Why space? It’s exciting! The wonders to behold when one looks to the sky and beyond are impressive to say the least. The environments in the black overhead are vastly different than anything we are conscious of here on the good Earth. The differences alone should spark humanities desire to learn all about them. We should explore them to the fullest of our capabilities. And puzzle them out. We need to know and learn. We’ve only just begun.
Here locally, in our own solar system, the possibilities of absolute marvel, exciting exploration and scientific gain are amazing! From planets to moons to dwarf planets to planetesimals to comets to asteroids – these celestial objects are ripe for continued and new visitation! It’s like a trip from London to New York City but different. Why shouldn’t we visit these objects? President John F. Kennedy said in his 1962 address at Rice University on the nation’s space effort, “Well, space is there, and we’re going to climb it. And the moon and the planets are there, and new hopes for knowledge and peace are there.”
The words are still exciting even 47 years later! There is much to be excited about, especially with moons, moons and moons! There is Enceladus, the sixth-largest moon of Saturn, with its active eruptions; outgassing that originates from a body of sub-surface liquid water! H20! Our knowledge says that with water comes life.
Outgassing is a cool term. Sing it with me now, “Outgassing!” Doesn’t that feel good? Jupiter’s moon Io (with over 400 active volcanoes) and Neptune’s moon Triton (with cryovolcanic and tectonic terrains) have also had observed active eruptions. They are all geologically active! It is hypothesized that Jupiter’s moon Europa has an ocean beneath its icy surface. Could extremophile extraterrestrial life exist below Europa’s surface? Or on Enceladus? Or Triton? Or Io? Or even on Saturn’s moon Titan, with its environment rich in complex organic chemistry? We can find out if we really, really, really wanted.
Is there life on Mars? If humans ventured there we could know the answer quicker and faster given the “spirit” and “opportunity.” Think of how the discovery of life elsewhere would rock the very foundation of Earthly ways of life and beliefs and thinking.
What aspects of our solar system are you interested in? Is Pluto a planet or a dwarf planet? I am filled with questions.