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New Planets
Habitability
10/05/09

 

This image shows a comparison of the potential habitable space available on Earth, Mars, Europa, Titan, and Enceladus. The green spheres represent the global volume with the right physical environment for most terrestrial microorganisms. On Earth, the biosphere includes parts of the atmosphere, oceans, and subsurface. The potential global habitats of the other planetary bodies are deep below their surface. Enceladus has the smallest volume but the highest habitat-planet size ratio followed by Europa. Surprisingly, it also has the highest mean habitability H, in the Solar System, although too deep for direct exploration. Mars and Europa are the best compromise between potential for life and accessibility.
Credit: UPR Arecibo, NASA Photojournal



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