On the road to exolife
The great expectations concerning the existence of evolved life-forms in the Solar System have not been confirmed by the images sent back by interplanetary probes. But we now know where to search for present or past signs: below the surface of Mars and the icy crust of Europa, among the frozen methane landscapes of Titan, and the active volcanic areas of Io and Triton. Moreover, at the end of the twentieth century a major discovery extended the traditional domain of planetary science, posing new problems for celestial mechanics and opening novel perspectives for the quest for life in the Universe. The detection of planetary systems around several stars has taken astronomers by surprise because of the unexpected variety of their dynamical configurations. And the next generation of space telescopes will probably answer the question of the existence of Earth-like planets in our Galaxy.
KeywordsSolar System Celestial Body Planetary System Terrestrial Planet Habitable Zone
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