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What do we want to know about Europa ?

Posted on Saturday, 10 August, 2013 | Comment icon 30 comments | News tip by: Waspie_Dwarf


Image credit: NASA

 
Scientists are weighing up what questions a future mission to Jupiter's icy moon would need to answer.

A freezing world with a vast liquid water ocean, Europa is still the single most likely place to find alien life within our solar system. While photographs have been available for some time thanks to passing spacecraft such as Voyager 2 and Galileo, to date we have yet to send a probe to land on its surface. In preparation for such a mission, scientists have been looking in to the most pressing questions that they would want answered in the event that we were to attempt it.

"There is still a lot of preparation that is needed before we could land on Europa, but studies like these will help us focus on the technologies required to get us there, and on the data needed to help us scout out possible landing locations," said lead study author Robert Pappalardo.

"Most of what scientists know of Jupiter's moon Europa they have gleaned from a dozen or so close flybys from NASA's Voyager 2 spacecraft in 1979 and NASA's Galileo spacecraft in the mid-to-late 1990s."

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 Source: NASA


  Discuss: View comments (30)

   


 
Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #21 Posted by Aggie on 11 August, 2013, 8:55
It's worth the shot. But 2030, ill be 41. That's depressing :/ LOL I used to think like that, now I'm 43 and I still feel young....maybe that's why I look a lot younger....it's the attitude, Bavarian Raven, it's how you feel...believe you me.
Comment icon #22 Posted by Aggie on 11 August, 2013, 9:01
Generally where there is water, there is life: on earth. However it may be we are unique in the solar system, the galaxy, the universe. Essentially evidence to the contrary is based on statistics and the hope that if conditions are similar to earth, there should be life. But the fact is we do not know. If life exists on Europa and it has the same chemical building blocks as earth life, then we still do not know if life exist outside our solar system, because there would be the remote possibility that this life was somehow seeded from the earth to Europa, say by meteor impact. If the chemistry ... [More]
Comment icon #23 Posted by spud the mackem on 11 August, 2013, 9:18
Ok,but they will need thermal wellies.
Comment icon #24 Posted by Aggie on 11 August, 2013, 9:31
Ok,but they will need thermal wellies. LOL! They will need more than that...the day we start getting pics from Europa I'll be glued to the telly!!!....or whatever we'll watch our programmes on in 20 years time...lol
Comment icon #25 Posted by DONTEATUS on 11 August, 2013, 22:40
It Will be a Grand Day that day we see the surface of Europa ! Im All in for this ! Maybe by then they will have the Live forever pill developed ?
Comment icon #26 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 11 August, 2013, 23:31
If life exists on Europa and it has the same chemical building blocks as earth life, then we still do not know if life exist outside our solar system, because there would be the remote possibility that this life was somehow seeded from the earth to Europa, say by meteor impact. There is a hypothesis, called pseudo-panspermia (or soft panspermia) that says that the building blocks for life, the amino acids, were carried to Earth on comets and asteroids early in Earth's history. There is a growing body of evidence that suggests complex organic molecules exist on such bodies. If pseudo-panspermia... [More]
Comment icon #27 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 11 August, 2013, 23:33
It Will be a Grand Day that day we see the surface of Europa ! The surface of Europa will be interesting, but it's what is underneath the surface that really holds all the secrets.
Comment icon #28 Posted by Aggie on 12 August, 2013, 8:01
The final option is that we don't find any signs of life elsewhere in our solar system. If that is the case then it doesn't really prove much. it could be that life is rare and the Earth is an exceptional world, it could be the life is extremely common and the solar system is unusual because life occurred only once here or it could be that the solar system is totally normal and one planet with life is the galactic average. It is because there are so many questions unanswered in one of the most fundamental questions in science, "are we alone?" that we must continue to explore not only Mars and ... [More]
Comment icon #29 Posted by spud the mackem on 12 August, 2013, 8:10
Nasa said the Milky Way Galaxy may be home to approximately hundred billion sun like stars and maybe 2 billion Earth analogue planets....I strongly believe at least one of them could have the signals for life (O2 and H2O). We may not find the 'aliens' we are looking for, but we might find another Earth...and the way things are going here, I think we need to find it. What do we do if we find it and it takes 5000 years to get there.
Comment icon #30 Posted by Aggie on 12 August, 2013, 9:20
What do we do if we find it and it takes 5000 years to get there. We need to upgrade our spaceships!!


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