Jupiter’s Moon, Europa, could be the celestial body that holds the greatest potential for life in the solar system. Europa is believed to have an ocean beneath its frozen crust and scientists tend to believe that it holds the right ingredients for life.
NASA embarked on a mission to search for life on Europa, the ice-covered moon orbiting Jupiter. The mission concept was approved and now funding is ongoing. Europa is one of the four moons of Jupiter and was discovered by Galileo in 1610. The moon has a very interesting particularity, it is covered by red streaks on the surface.
For the time being, the surface of the celestial body doesn’t hint to breakthrough discoveries, as it lacks in life-supporting structures. But all that matters always lies beneath the surface and starting from here, NASA astronauts could find something quite interesting on Europa.
The mission to Europa just came from passing its first major review last week and now it’s heading toward a phase of development called formulation. The spacecraft is expected to launch in 2020 for a journey that will most probably take many years.
All the observations gathered lately in regards to life conditions on Europa provided promising clues over the last two decades and now the time has come to seek for answers on the existence of alien life.
Chances are high for life to have developed there, as Europa has a salty ocean under the icy surface and it is thought that it contains twice as more water than the Earth does. If heating conditions work efficiently enough, then we have basic chemistry and all ingredients needed to support life. Water and heat equals life and there are high chances for Europa, Jupiter’s moon to host yet undiscovered life conditions.
However, the surface of the celestial body is extremely cold, with -188 degrees Celsius at the poles. But this doesn’t hold researchers back from uncovering its secrets and checking for alternative life conditions.
The idea of life developing under the liquid water ocean first appeared in 1970, when a team of highly insightful and observant astronomers discovered the first clues. Calculations revealed that the tidal energy induced by Jupiter could warm up Europa’s core.
All theories and assumptions lead to a very optimistic outcome. Whether the hypothesis will prove to be true or not, we will certainly find out over the next few years. Europa’s water holds all the secrets. It may be salty, allowing for life to develop or acidic or it may hold important nutrients for life support.
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