The Open University has a series on Moons in the Solar System, and two of them are particularly interesting
Video 1 is about Europa, the moon of Jupiter that is covered with an ice sheet and is likely to have a 60-kilometer deep ocean heated by tidal friction.
Europa has been considered by some astronomers as the most likely other place (besides Mars) in the solar system to have (underwater) life. But Ganymede may have a similar structure, and possibly even Callisto.
In the movie “2010: A Space Odyssey” (based on Arthur C. Clarke’s novel), aliens convert a “leprous” Jupiter to a sun, so that Europa, which is to be left alone, to another earth.
In the 2014 movie “Europa Report” and undersea creature releases the Earth’s spacecraft so it can go home.
Above is a NASA artist’s idea of what a cryobot might see in the Europa ocean (P.d., wikipedia attribution link).
The Video number 3 in the series is about Titan, the largest moon of Saturn, and the only one in the atmosphere with an atmosphere.
The Cassini space proble landed the component Huygens on Titan’s surface in early 2005.
The moon, larger than Mercury about with about 1/6 the gravity of Earth, features methane seas and rain, and low ridges and plains of sandy material. The atmosphere contains thiols, which contain organic materials that could constitute precursors to bacteria-like organisms. Most artists conceptions show an orange sky that is surprisingly bright with reflected light from Saturn.
Titan also appears to have an under-surface water layer, which could conceivably harbor life in a manner similar to Europa.
Above is the public domain photo of the Titan surface from Huygens (NASA), wikipedia attribution here.
Above is a NASA artist’s drawing of what a balloon landing on Titan could look like, Wikipedia attribution here.
There is an 84-minute NASA lecture on YouTube.
My own unfinished script “69 Minutes to Titan” (about the length of time light would take to reach it) views Titan as a place that could be settled by “angels” (earlier descriptive link, March 4, 2014; old treatment); and my “Do Ask, Do Tell: Epiphany” also imagines a space station on Titan. Here’s a script for a little short film “Suprisie Planet” or “Welcome to Titan”, link.
(Published Thursday Nov. 12 2015 at 1:45 PM EST)