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The earthitself is an oasis: An island of life in a vast and, as far as is known, mostly sterile solar system. Most envision the oasis as the classic, palmfilled area of land, an island in the desert. This is the type of oasis that will be described here, along with the unique environmental and social challenges faced by these fragile pockets of water and life.

What makes an oasis is not necessarily that it has life and a consistent source of water, but the fact that it is surrounded by a dry or largely lifeless expanse. Thus, what makes the oasis an oasis is not necessarily what grows within it but the desert surrounding it. An oasis must be disconnected from other regions with water ...

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