When we talk about life outside Earth.. Most people always think about solid planets like Mars or Venus and never think about gas giants like Jupiter or Saturn. So does that mean life on gas giants is not possible?
Well… The answer can be both yes and no. Let’s try to think about the possibilities from 4 different views…
View #1: It’s not possible at all.
This first view is that there is no possibility whatsoever of life existing on a gas giant such as Jupiter or Saturn. One of the main rationales for this is because these two gas giants are mostly composed of Hydrogen and Helium. Thus, life in our form would not be able to exist on a gas giant because our DNA relies on Carbon, Nitrogen, and Oxygen in order to survive.
View #2: It’s possible, but under different conditions.
Carl Sagan and Edwin Salpeter published a paper in 1975 that described three possible organisms that could survive in such an inhospitable place as a gas giant. First of all, they described “sinkers”, which would constantly fall to their demise in the hotter bottom depths of the gas giant, but reproduce other microorganisms that would be carried by the gas giant’s immense winds.
View #3: It’s possible, but they would have to be flying creatures.
Sagan, Salpeter, and Stephen Hawking also believed that it was entirely possible that these organisms could exist, but they would either be flying creatures or balloon-like organisms the size of entire cities that lived off photosynthesis and air feeding.
View #4: It’s possible, but only on the colder gas giants.
Believe it or not, gas giants such as Uranus or Neptune would be a better chance of allowing life to evolve on the planet. This is because these gas giants are colder, which brings in more elements such as ammonia, methane, and water. These chemicals are some of the basic building blocks for life to exist, and there is also a stronger possibility for some liquid water to exist on these planets as well.
So we’re technologically limited to give a specific answer to “If life can exist of gas giants or not” question. I hope you understand. Thanks for reading.
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