Five places we might find life in our own solar system

Life on Earth occupies some bizarre places – pools of pitch in Trinidad and Tobago, deep-sea hydrothermal vents, and frigid, lightless lakes capped by glaciers. While scientists hunt for hospitable planets circling other stars, the solar system has a few candidates. Here are five.


In August 2008, the Phoenix Mars Lander was collecting soil samples on the red planet. This photo from NASA shows its solar panel and robotic arm. (NASA/AP/File)

Early in its history, the red planet had abundant surface water. Could microbes lurk underground?


This 2002 composite shows the edge of Jupiter, with its Great Red Spot, and Jupiter's four largest moons, known as the Galilean satellites. From top to bottom, the moons shown here are Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto. (REUTERS/JPL/NASA/File )

With rocky cores heated by tugs from Jupiter, these moons are thought to have potentially life-supporting seas beneath their icy crusts.


Geyser-like eruptions of ice particles and water vapor shoot out from the south pole of Saturn's moon Enceladus. (NASA/AP/File)

This icy moon of Saturn also has subsurface deposits of liquid water or slush, a rocky core, and Saturn's gravity for heat. Active ice volcanoes could be circulating nutrients that life forms could use.


This May 2006 photo shows a flattened projection of the Huygens probe's view 6 miles over Saturn's moon Titan. (NASA/AP/File)

Saturn's largest moon has lots of hydro-­carbons as raw material for biologically important molecules. It's extremely cold. Could life exist underground?


The northern hemisphere of Venus is shown in this global view of the planet's surface. (AP/File)

It's a long shot, with its crushing atmosphere and surface temperatures that would melt lead. But 30 miles up, conditions might be more favorable. Bacteria on Earth endure much worse.