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Worlds With Underground Oceans More Conducive To Life

A SETI researcher theorizes that worlds with underground oceans may be prevalent in other solar systems, and that they may be more conducive to the development of life than planets like ours.

Stern’s paper points out that IWOWs [interior water ocean worlds] are impervious to such threats because their oceans are protected by a roof of ice and rock, typically several to many tens of kilometers thick, that overlie their oceans.

“Interior water ocean worlds are better suited to provide many kinds of environmental stability, and are less likely to suffer threats to life from their own atmosphere, their star, their solar system, and the galaxy, than are worlds like Earth, which have their oceans on the outside,” said Stern.

He also points out that the same layer of rock and ice that protects the oceans on IWOWs also conceals life from being detected by virtually all astronomical techniques. If such worlds are the predominant abodes of life in the galaxy and if intelligent life arises in them — both big “ifs,” Stern emphasizes — then IWOWs may also help crack the so-called Fermi Paradox. Posed by Nobel Laureate Enrico Fermi in the early 1960s, the Fermi Paradox questions why we don’t see obvious evidence of life if it’s prevalent across the universe.

“The same protective layer of ice and rock that creates stable environments for life also sequesters that life from easy detection,” said Stern.

(Via SwRI)

Science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke wrote about frozen-over oceans in his 1982 novel 2010: Odyssey Two:

... relay this information to Earth. Tsien destroyed three hours ago. I'm only survivor. Using my suit radio - no idea if it has enough range, but it ' s the only chance. Please listen carefully. THERE IS LIFE ON EUROPA. I repeat: THERE IS LIFE ON EUROPA. . .

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