The strategy of 'following the water' in the search for extraterrestrial life may need some tweaking, suggests a new study in the journal Astrobiology.
Put simply: there's an awful lot of places where water could exist - either on the surface of the Earth, or deep within it - yet life is largely concentrated in a small sliver of this.
Eriita Jones and Charley Lineweaver of the Australian National University in Canberra have estimated the volume of the Earth where liquid water can exist, and calculated that life inhabits as little as 12% of it.
The movie Gattaca features a main character who wants more than anything to be an astronaut and go on a mission to Jupiter's moon Titan, which may have liquid water below its icy surface. While the likelihood of Titan having life in its liquid water is not central to a movie like Gattaca, having some background knowledge in these sorts of areas can allow their inclusion as an important or not so important feature of a story for cinema and fiction. This both presents opportunities for new story ideas and for authentic details in stories.