In 1986, some scientists laughed as other scientists seriously pondered the existence of water on Mars. Today we know that there is ice, and even the potential for liquid water on the surface of Mars. That news made headlines, especially with the newest rover sending back close-up images and data from direct samples.
The vast majority of relevant and more-surprising information on the topic of extraplanetary water has managed to go under the radar. Additionally, breakthroughs in extreme-environment chemistry, astronomy, physics, and more have not yet been expressly interconnected to draw new hypothetical inferences about the nature of the universe, and the abundance of life.
In STARWATER, an educational documentary outlining the relevant research about water outside earth, we examine the wide range of places to find water, and why this is likely to be true everywhere. Would you believe that we have proof of water on every planet? We discovered permanent ice near the poles of Mercury, many moons of Jupiter and Saturn are icy spheres with liquid oceans beneath the surface, the centers of Neptune and Uranus are icy materials, and Pluto is mostly made of water ice.
That’s right, earth does not have the only liquid water oceans in the solar system, and Pluto is a ball of frozen water. It gets better…
We found water vapor in sunspots, in massive quantities in pre-planetary and pre-stellar nebulae, and surrounding black holes. We have even discovered some exoplanets that appear to have watery atmospheres, based on spectral emission. Surrounding our solar system, and other stars as well, we find a pseudo-shell of rocks and ice that mark the boundary of the solar wind. This icy shell explains a good deal of the water found in our solar system, and likely found in others. The solar wind has been discovered to contain nearly every known element, a startling revelation about elemental production, but it is mostly comprised of hydrogen and hydrogen ions.
Recent breakthroughs have shown that the solar wind can liberate oxygen trapped in space rocks, moons, planets, etc., and then combine with that oxygen to form water. This discovery came within weeks of another one- that interplanetary dust carries space water, and potentially, organic materials, down to all materials in the solar system. Why should it stop at our neighborhood? It shouldn’t, and neither should it stop at the solar wind characteristics of our star or its ability to radiologically create water from the rocks.
NASA has discovered that Earth’s upper ionosphere erupts enormous amounts of oxygen during impact from coronal mass ejections (CME) from the sun. This oxygen does not need to be liberated from rocks; it’s “ready to go” and has an abundance of solar wind particles in the impacting CME with which to create water.
What do these breakthroughs tell us? Our star is a raw-materials distribution center for everything touched by its solar wind. Rocky bodies are going to have water, and are more likely to have oxygen-rich atmospheres for the same reason of oxygen liberation. Those oxygen-rich atmospheres are conceivably the best method for water production in the known universe; our planet’s reaction to the solar hydrogen is to toss out a shield of oxygen.
Icy moons are likely to be prominent features around large planets as well, it is likely a matter of bad luck that one of the dozens in our own system is not warmer on the surface. However, if you are hoping to find another earth, hoping to find life outside earth, you likely will not need much luck at all.
The search for exoplanets is not only sizzling hot, but the scientists themselves seem incredulous at some of the findings. In just the last 12 months, we learned that one-sixth (⅙) of all stars in our galaxy have an earth-sized planet, and then months later, that it is actually one-fifth (⅕) of stars having the earth-sized planets… in the habitable zone.
If we use the number of 100 Billion stars in the galaxy, a common number, that’s 20 Billion chances for an earth-like rock or even a young Mars. What about the liquid oceans beneath moons like enceladus and europa? Between earth, Mars, and the dozen moons that may actually have life underground, it appears our initial guess is missing some zeros. Between planets like Earth and Mars, and the icy moons we’re likely to find, not just at sun-like stars but at all stars, we may have 500 Billion watery spheres to explore… just in the milky way.
There are millions of people around the world who not only believe that life exists outside our planet, but that evidence of that life can be found right here on Earth. It appears that the more we learn about the universe, the even stronger arguments for the existence of other life may be strictly numerical, ones of probability. Stars tend to have rocky planets like ours far more often than we could have imagined even just a few years ago, and with a bit of interdisciplinary connect-the-dots between scientific discoveries, you realize that most of those planets are going to have water and oxygen.
It would not be surprising to find that star formation results in patterned planet formation as well. If so, as the trends in observational evidence suggest, then planets like earth will be nearly ubiquitous, along with the existence of habitable moons. The STARWATER survey tells us that water is going to be everywhere, but it cannot confirm the existence of life outside our planet. This is where the evidence leaves us to draw our own conclusions about the existence of life on those worlds. It’s really the only question left; the water is not going to be a problem.
The papers, scientists, discoveries, and revelations are explored in the STARWATER series, available for members at Suspicious0bservers.org, but the research and resources to private material are always made free for everyone here.