Water worlds are found in our own solar system, and life may hide among their layers of rock and ice, new studies suggest. Life may, one day, be found on worlds including Europa, Enceladus, Titan, Mars, and possibly even (Pluto).

Interior water ocean worlds (IWOWs) are common in our solar system, and similar planets and moons are likely to exist in other planetary systems, greatly expanding the possibility of alien life.

“As we now know, in our solar system, Earth is an uncommon type of water ocean world because its oceans are on its exterior. In contrast, an increasing number of worlds in our solar system have… shown… they likely contain interior water oceans. As a result, water ocean worlds are now thought to be common in our solar system… IWOWs appear to be particularly conducive to, and perhaps at an advantage for the development and maintenance of life,” Dr. Alan Stern, planetary scientist at the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) writes in a letter from the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference 2021.

Shields to Maximum!

The oceans of Titan, normally hidden an an eternal cloud layer, can be seen in this infrared composite image, seen by the Cassini spacecraft.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Stéphane Le Mouélic/University of Nantes/Virginia Pasek/University of Arizona