Life on Earth occupies some bizarre places from deep-sea hydrothermal vents to frigid and lightless lakes. While scientists hunt for hospitable planets circling other stars, the solar system has a few candidates. According to the Christian Science Monitor, the following are the five places where life may exist: Mars: Early in its history, the red planet had abundant surface water. Could microbes lurk underground?


Europa/Ganymede: With rocky cores heated by tugs from Jupiter, these moons are thought to have potentially life-supporting seas beneath their icy crusts.


Enceladus: This icy moon of Saturn also has subsurface deposits of liquid water or slush, a rocky core, and Saturn’s gravity for heat. Active ice volcanoes could be circulating nutrients that life forms could use.


Titan: Saturn’s largest moon has lots of hydro-carbons as raw material for biologically important molecules. It’s extremely cold. Could life exist underground?


Venus: It’s a long shot, with its crushing atmosphere and surface temperatures that would melt lead. But 30 miles up, conditions might be more favourable. Bacteria on Earth endure much worse. (IANS)