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Program Directory

Big Picture Science

There’s evi­dence for a sub­sur­face lake on Mars, and sci­en­tists are excit­ed­ly using the h” word. Could the Red Plan­et be hab­it­able, not bil­lions of years ago, but today? While we wait – impa­tient­ly – for a con­fir­ma­tion of this result, we review the recipe for hab­it­able alien worlds. For exam­ple, the moon Titan has liq­uid lakes on its sur­face. Could they be filled with Titanites?

Dive into a pos­si­ble briny, under­ground lake on Mars … pro­tect your­self from the methane-drenched rain on a moon of Sat­urn … and cheer on the missed-it-by-that-much plan­ets, aster­oids Ceres and Vesta.

Also, do tens of bil­lions of poten­tial­ly hab­it­able extra­so­lar plan­ets mean that Earth is not unique?


  • Nathalie Cabrol Plan­e­tary sci­en­tist, Direc­tor of the Carl Sagan Cen­ter for the Study of Life in the Uni­verse at the SETI Institute
  • Jack HoltGeo­physi­cist, Lunar and Plan­e­tary Lab­o­ra­to­ry, Uni­ver­si­ty of Arizona

  • Jani Rade­baughPlan­e­tary sci­en­tist and pro­fes­sor of geol­o­gy, Brigham Young University

  • Marc Ray­manMis­sion Direc­tor and Chief Engi­neer of NASA’s Dawn Mission

  • Phil PlaitAstronomer, blog­ger, and wide­ly known as the Bad Astronomer