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Introduction


Astrobiology is a fairly new subject for Astronomy, and seems to have gained momentum thanks to the Mars missions and with data from the Galileo Space Probe that shows strong evidence of liquid water under the icy surface of Europa.

The possibility of life else where in the Universe, and even our own Solar System, is not something new. Throughout history there has been questions posed as to the likely hood of extra-terrestrial intelligence. The first to have thoughts of extra-terrestrial intelligence was a Greek philosopher named Epicurus (342 - 270 B.C.). A Roman poet named Lucretius (91 - 55 B.C.) wrote a poem titled De rerum natura that discusses other worlds. More recently, Christiaan Huygens (1629 - 1695) speculated life to exist on the moon as well as Jupiter. The Huygens probe - part of the Cassini spacecraft orbiting Saturn - is named after Christiaan Huygens.

Because of the potential controversy with the search of extra-terrestrial intelligence, I have left the subject of SETI to the Additional Resources in this section; however, on a personal note I strongly believe in the search for life elsewhere, and I believe it to exist; to be only a matter of time before we finally discover or detect life elsewhere.

This section will discuss the latest discoveries on Mars as well as the current evidence to support liquid water on Europa. Briefly discussing "extremophiles" - life existing here on Earth in some very hostile environments and the possibility of variants of extremophiles on Europa and Titan, the moon of Saturn and the only moon to host a substantial atmosphere.


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