The KITP Public Lecture Series
The Search for Habitable Environments in the Solar System
sponsored by Friends of KITP
All space faring nations devote a portion of their resources to exploring the solar system. NASA has a forty-year history of robotic missions reaching into deep space for a better understanding of our origins, the evolution of our planet, and our destiny. For the past decade, NASA has placed considerable emphasis on the search for life beyond Earth. Missions to the rocky terrestrial planets and the moons of the gas giants seek answers to the question: Are other worlds in the solar system habitable by simple organisms? By framing its search objective in this way, NASA motivates investigations of the fundamentals of what makes a planet an abode for life, and what ingredients are required for the origin and evolution of life. In this lecture, we focus on the strategies and results of the search thus far. We will discuss recent scientific missions to Mars, Europa, and Titan.