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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."

  View: Full article |  Source: NASA

  Discuss: View comments (30)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #21 Posted by Aggie on 11 August, 2013, 8:55
LOL I used to think like that, now I'm 43 and I still feel young....maybe that's why I look a lot'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
If they are sending a rover by 2030 then I have hopes we'll find out whilst still alive. Scientists believe the ice core to be made of hydrogen and oxygen, just like ours,H2O. The oxygen reacts with the radiation from Jupiter and they believe this reaction is the key to life on Europa.
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
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
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
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 is correct then most rock worlds in the solar system should at least have the b=necessary building blocks for life. Moreover, because astronomers believe that solar systems generally form the same way then comets and asteroids should be common in other solar systems. Th... [More]
Comment icon #27 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 11 August, 2013, 23:33
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
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.
Comment icon #29 Posted by spud the mackem on 12 August, 2013, 8:10
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
We need to upgrade our spaceships!!
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