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Life on an Ocean World

One of the most profound questions that humans have been asking for millennia is, “Are we alone in the Universe?” Recent discoveries—on Earth and in outer space—mean that we may have the opportunity to answer that question, within the lifetime of the current human generation.

The ocean is essential to life on Earth and may have given rise to life on our planet billions of years ago. It has also given us a glimpse into the wide range of extreme conditions and settings that are capable of supporting life. And we have recently learned that vast oceans of liquid water also exist beneath the icy shells of moons in our own solar system, closer to Earth than NASA’s robotic space missions have already ventured. These ocean worlds provide compelling targets in the search for extraterrestrial life and offer us a new perspective from which to view our own ocean planet.

Learn more:
WHOI Ocean Worlds
Network for Ocean Worlds (NOW)

Video by Luis Lamar, ©Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Polar expedition footage provided courtesy of the Avatar Alliance Foundation
Special thanks to Stephen Day, Colin Day, and Coley Burke

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