Top Natural Satellites or Moons that could sustain life in our Solar System

We all dream of exploring other planets that could support life and maybe colonize that planet or satellite, but what we looking for could be right in our backyard. In the list bellow we put together the top natural satellites or Moons that could have the ability to sustain life.

  • Ganymede

Ganymede, a satellite of Jupiter, is the largest and most massive of the Solar System, it is the largest without a substantial atmosphere.It has a diameter of 5.268 km and is 8% larger than the planet Mercury, although only 45% as massive.

The Moon likely has a salty ocean underneath it’s icy surface, making it a potential location for life. The European Space Agency plans a mission to Jupiter’s icy moons that in 2030, is planned to arrive and put special emphasis on observing Ganymede.

  • Callisto

Callisto, or Jupiter IV, is the second-largest moon of Jupiter, after Ganymede and Saturn’s largest moon Titan, and the largest object in the Solar System that may not be properly differentiated and was discovered in 1610 by Galileo Galilei.

The possibility that Callisto may have an ocean underneath its icy surface was first proposed in 1998.Subsequent observations in 2001 added credence to this theory.

Ultimately, readings collected by the sensors aboard the Galileo Spacecraft showed that the moon’s magnetic field fluctuates as Jupiter rotate on its Axis. An underground ocean of salt water was the most plausible theory since salt water is a great conductor of electricity, and it can interact with Jupiter’s magnetic field cousing the fluctuations, it seemed to be the most likely candidate.

  • Titan
A composite image of Saturn’s moon Titan taken by the Cassini spacecraft.

Titan is the largest moon of Saturn and the second-largest natural satellite in the Solar System. It is the only moon known to have a dense Atmosphere, and the only known body in space, other than Earth, where clear evidence of stable bodies of surface liquid has been found.

With the prevalence of the carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide in Titan’s atmosphere, scientists have long thought that liquid water might exist on Titan’s surface. In 1998, the European Space Agency’s Infrared Space Observatory detected water vapor in the atmosphere of Titan. Due to Titan’s huge distance from the Sun, the surface temperatures are seemingly too cold to support liquid water. But scientists say it is possible that an impact pool created by a comet or asteroid could maintain liquid water for as long as 1000 years, perhaps long enough for life’s chemical reaction to take place.

  • Enceladus

Enceladus is the sixth-largest moon of Saturn. It is about 500 km in diameter, about the tenth of that of Saturn’s largest moon, Titan. Enceladus is mostly covered by fresh, clean ice, making it one of the most reflective bodies of the Solar System.

The moon may be small, but it has a global water ocean beneath its icy surface, and scientists have speculated on whether there is anything alive in that deep, dark abyss. The Cassini spacecraft found that it is salty like oceans on Earth, contains abundant organic molecules, and that there is likely hydrothermal activity on the ocean bottom.

  • Europa
The puzzling, fascinating surface of Jupiter’s icy moon Europa looms large in this newly-reprocessed color view, made from images taken by NASA’s Galileo spacecraft in the late 1990s.

Europa, or Jupiter II, is the smallest of the four Galilean moons orbiting Jupiter, and the sixth-closest to the planet of all the 79 known moons of Jupiter. It is also the sixth-largest moon in the Solar System.

Europa is a subject in both science fiction and scientific speculation for the human colonization. Europa’s geophysical features, including a possible subglacial water ocean, make it a possibility that human life could be sustained on or beneath the surface.

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