Life Before Fermi -- Back to the Solar System

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D. L. Clements (2018), JBIS, 71, pp.222-224

Refcode: 2018.71.222
Keywords: Fermi Paradox; Extraterrestrial life; Solar System

The existence of intelligent, interstellar traveling and colonising life is a key assumption behind the Fermi Paradox. Until recently, detecting signs of life elsewhere has been so technically challenging as to seem almost impossible. However, new observational insights and other developments mean that signs of life elsewhere might realistically be uncovered in the next decade or two. We here review what are believed to be the basic requirements for life, the history of life on Earth, and then apply this knowledge to potential sites for life in our own Solar System. We conclude that the necessities of life liquid water and sources of energy are in fact quite common in the Solar System, but most potential sites are beneath the icy surfaces of gas giant moons. If this is the case elsewhere in the Galaxy, life may be quite common but, even if intelligence develops, is essentially sealed in a finite environment, unable to communicate with the outside world.

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