Water is essential to life as we know it and over the last 15 years, we have discovered that water is present in surprising places throughout our solar system and beyond. Analysis from the New Horizon’s mission to Pluto strongly suggests that there is a liquid ocean buried on Pluto in spite of the temperatures as cold as -400ºF there.
The Cassini mission to Saturn has discovered water geysers and a likely subsurface ocean on Enceladus. Jupiter’s moon Europa and Ganymede also likely have a buried liquid ocean because of tidal heating effects from Jupiter’s strong gravity.
Closer to home Mars shows signs of having surface oceans during its early existence and large areas of buried ice have been detected. Before it was boiled off by a runaway greenhouse effect, Venus likely has as much water as Earth does now.
Then there is the intense debate as to how Earth acquired its water. Possibilities include bombardment by comets and asteroids and recent evidence suggests that it was incorporated into the Earth during its formation. Overall, it is estimated that the solar system contained as much as 50 times the amount of water present on the Earth and water may be common on exoplanets.
In this talk, we will analyze where water exists in our solar system and beyond and how it got there. We will also discuss the various theories as to how Earth acquired its water. Image caption: Geysers erupting on the surface of Enceladus, photographed by Cassini (NASA/JPL)
Michael Adler graduated from MIT in 1971 as a PhD in the area of solid state physics and worked at General Electric from 1971 until his retirement in 2000. He has given talks on a number of topics in astronomy, geology, climate change, and travel to groups in New York, the Royal Astronomy Society of Canada in Ontario and the Geologists of Jackson Hole in Jackson, Wyoming.
Thursday, May 6th - 7:00 to 8:00 PM via Zoom.
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