About 4 billion years ago Mars had a primitive ocean, but 87% of its water has since been lost to space as its atmosphere deteriorated.
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Much of the remaining water is locked in polar ice caps, glaciers and frozen into the Martian soil.
Lost to Space
2014 - Water vapor is observed being emitted from Ceres’ surface, hinting at the strong possibility of a liquid ocean lurking beneath its icy surface.
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In March 2015, NASA’s Dawn spacecraft entered into orbit around Ceres, providing our first ever close up views of its surface. A series of bright spots on its surface are believed to be patches of ice, reflecting sunlight.
Strong evidence of an ocean. Ability to support life – unknown.
Beneath its icy crust lies a liquid ocean, thought to be about twice the volume of Earth’s ocean.
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Although the surface temperature of Europa can be as cold as -220 C, the immense gravitational pull from Jupiter creates a tidal effect on the sub-surface ocean causing it to remain liquid.
Home to an active, dynamic ocean capable of supporting life
Evidence of tectonic activity suggests the possibility of hydrothermal vents and organic material being present in Europa’s ocean. As a result, the three basic elements of life (water, heat and organic material) are likely present inside Europa.
2015 – NASA’s Hubble Telescope observes shifts in Ganymede’s version of the northern lights, confirming the presence of a dense liquid beneath its icy crust.
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This subterranean ocean is thought to be larger than all of the surface water on Earth.
Locked, trapped ocean beneath thick layer of ice. Unlikely to support life.
Callisto’s cratered surface is composed of layers of rock and water ice thought to be over 200km thick.
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Beneath its icy crust lies a salty, liquid ocean that is predicted to be between 10 to 100km deep.
Locked, trapped ocean. Unlikely to support life.
In 2005, NASA’s Cassini probe observed water vapor and ice spewing from vents near the moon's south pole, hinting at the existence of a hidden ocean.
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Although it is extremely cold, the subsurface ocean may be kept liquid by that moon’s flexing as it follows an eccentric orbit around Saturn.
Active, dynamic ocean capable of supporting life.
The surface of Titan is covered in numerous large rivers and lakes of liquid methane and ethane. Some scientists speculate that micro-organisms could survive off these liquids in place of water. Perhaps life does not require liquid water, but just liquid anything…
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Beneath its rocky surface, also lies a liquid water ocean. This sub-surface ocean is trapped and unlikely to support life.
Mimas, Triton, & Pluto are also thought to contain subsurface liquid oceans, but further study is needed to confirm these theories.
NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope continuously monitors more than 150,000 stars beyond our solar system and has so far uncovered more than 4,000 candidate planets for further study.
But there’s more…
Kepler has only seen a fraction of our galaxy. The Milky Way is thought to contain between 100-400 billion stars and at least as many planets.
NASA and its partner space agencies from around the world have long realized that the most effective way to monitor the health of Earth is to study it from above using satellites.
Dynamic, active ocean covering 71% of its surface that supports an incredible diversity of life.
The data collected from this constellation of satellites has revolutionized our understanding of Earth and its water.
Learn more about NASA’s Earth Observing System:
Check out this link for the latest news about solar system exploration:

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