With all the discoveries about extraterrestrial water this month, the question arose — where is the BEST place to catch alien waves, assuming you had a “wet suit” to protect you from extreme heat and cold (and give you oxygen), that you could survive a 1-2 year space journey to get there, and had a pretty good sponsor to pony up $10 billion or so. There technically is only one place where the surf truly is up, but there are a LOT of other oceans worth exploring. And you might even see an alien “fish” swimming nearby.
#1: TITAN, SATURN: The largest moon of Saturn and the second largest moon in the solar system
SURF’S UP! Yep, it’s the only place we know of currently where there are actual extraterrestrial waves lapping at an alien beach every summer (there’s not enough wind for waves in winter on Titan). Not a good place for actual aliens, though, but we haven’t explored deep under the crust where liquid water might exist. We really didn’t know jack about this moon until 2004. That’s when we finally could get close enough to probe through the dense cloudy atmosphere and realize there are oceans. The weird thing?
They’re at the poles.
The weirdest thing?
These oceans are NOT water. You’re surfing on liquid methane.
Yes, the same stuff in farts, only liquefied because of the frigid temperatures.
You’ll need a wetsuit that keeps you warm in -290 degrees F.
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#2: ENCELADUS, SATURN:
This moon of one of the other gas giants, Saturn, was just discovered to have geysers, where hot water and hot rock interact, sending plumes of steam high into the alien atmosphere. That’s a good thing for supporting extraterrestrial life. Its 30-mile deep ocean is, however, subterranean, so no waves to surf unless something happens to dramatically heat the surface. (In a few billion years, the sun’s heat may take care of that). Still, potentially some amazing biology to search for if NASA can get a lander there. MORE
#3: GANYMEDE, JUPITER:
The largest moon in our solar system also has the largest salty ocean anywhere we know, even more water than earth, according to a new discovery.
Just this month, NASA announced data that confirm a warm, salty ocean swirling around on this massive moon. At nearly half the radius of Earth, this thing is huge, and its oceans are 60 miles deep, so that’s a LOT of water. The bad news? They’re buried beneath 95 miles of ice. Surfing here might be tricky until the sun expands to melt the ice in a few billion years. Still, some deep water diving might create amazing encounters with alien life.
“In its 25 years in orbit, Hubble has made many scientific discoveries in our own solar system. A deep ocean under the icy crust of Ganymede opens up further exciting possibilities for life beyond Earth,” said John Grunsfeld, associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate about the new discovery.
#4: EUROPA, JUPITER:
This moon of the largest planet has an icy crust, but a huge “warm” (as in un-frozen) subsurface ocean. It erupts in massive water volcanoes during certain points of its orbit around the giant planet, sending plumes of water 125 miles high. Not really long enough to catch a wave, but maybe some brief surface water lapping along the ice, and certainly a good place if you love the ocean. MORE
#5: SLURPEE WAVES, NANTUCKET, MA
We had to include this in here, because while they may not actually be extraterrestrial waves, they sure look like they’re from another planet. These so-called “Slurpee” waves formed after frigid temperatures in February nearly froze the ocean, sending waves of ice crystals crashing on shore.
#6 ANYWHERE, IF YOU’RE THE SILVER SURFER
And, what extraterrestrial surf spot list would be complete without pointing out that the surf is ALWAYS up, anywhere, if you’re the Silver Surfer. Unfortunately, you’re also a comic book hero, and you can only hang ten on the pages of someone else’s 2-dimensional paper or movie special effects. Still, you’ve got style. MORE from MarvelMORE NEWS: Marin County Judge Tentatively Rejects Cutting Inmate Crowding at San Quentin
And of course, there are some newly discovered extrasolar planets including one with a catchy name of “GJ 1214 b” that show signs of water, and theoretically, some of these newly found planets could be ocean planets, completely covered in water, which, ironically, makes them pretty hard to surf, because you really can’t surf the open ocean.