JUN 03, 2022 4:10 PM PDT

Bioluminescence: Life on Earth...and Beyond?

Bioluminescence is a chemical reaction where light is produced by organisms to hunt prey, defend against predators, and find mates. Most bioluminescent organisms are found in the ocean, but some can be found on land. Examples of ocean-based (marine) bioluminescent organisms are anglerfish and firefly squid, and it is estimated that 50% of squid are bioluminescent. Examples of land-based (terrestrial) bioluminescent organisms are bacteria, fungi, mollusks, and annelids. While Earth is the only place where we know life can exist, there are a number of locations in our own solar system where bioluminescent organisms might exist, including the moons of Europa, Enceladus, and Titan. These planetary bodies are of interest because they are all believed to possess interior liquid water oceans, where bioluminescent organisms could live. 

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MS in Geological Sciences
Laurence Tognetti is a six-year USAF Veteran who earned both a BSc and MSc from the School of Earth and Space Exploration at Arizona State University. Laurence is extremely passionate about outer space and science communication, and is the author of “Outer Solar System Moons: Your Personal 3D Journey”.
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