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NASA plans to look for alien life on Europa

By T.K. Randall
February 10, 2017 · Comment icon 12 comments

NASA conceptual image of a possible lander design for a Europa mission. Image Credit: NASA/JPL
Scientists are hoping to develop a mission to learn once and for all whether there is life on Europa.
When it comes to seeking out signs of extraterrestrial life within our own solar system, no target has proven more tantalizing than Jupiter's moon Europa - a world thought to be home to a potentially habitable ocean of liquid water hidden deep beneath a thick icy exterior shell.

Now NASA has revealed new details of its plans to visit this enigmatic world in the future.

"The primary goal is to search for evidence of life on Europa," the space agency wrote.

"The other goals are to assess the habitability of Europa by directly analysing material from the surface, and to characterise the surface and subsurface to support future robotic exploration of Europa and its ocean."
One of the ways in which NASA is looking to accomplish these objectives is by sending a lander to Europa that can take a much closer look at its surface and find out for certain whether or not there really is a subterranean ocean beneath the ice.

"Scientists agree that the evidence is quite strong that Europa, which is slightly smaller than Earth's moon, has a global saltwater ocean beneath its icy crust," NASA wrote.

"This ocean has at least twice as much water as Earth's oceans."

Whether there are extraterrestrial life forms living in this ocean however remains to be seen.

Source: | Comments (12)

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #3 Posted by Mr.United_Nations 6 years ago
Still if it falls through im stil waiting for that chance
Comment icon #4 Posted by Rolci 6 years ago
All these worlds are yours...
Comment icon #5 Posted by taniwha 6 years ago
No wonder the concept drawing looks so unrealistically out of date.
Comment icon #6 Posted by taniwha 6 years ago
I don't want to burst the bubble but I'm guessing there won't be.
Comment icon #7 Posted by Torviking 6 years ago
All these worlds are yours Earthmen EXCEPT EUROPA. Attempt no landings there....
Comment icon #8 Posted by Torviking 6 years ago
Europa lander..."Will I dream Dr Chandra?".
Comment icon #9 Posted by qxcontinuum 6 years ago
Comment icon #10 Posted by taniwha 6 years ago
Thanks seanjo for the tip, I found this snippet about black smokers and thought others might enjoy it too.  
Comment icon #11 Posted by Aardvark-DK 6 years ago
I mis-read this as "In Europa"...and thought "not that hard to find here..." 
Comment icon #12 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf 6 years ago
It seems we are going to have to wait a few years longer for a Europa lander. The FY2018 budget proposal contains no funding for this mission.

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