Skip to comments.Why We Need to go to Europa
Posted on 03/09/2014 5:28:18 PM PDT by lbryce
NASA really wants to go to Europa, and anyone who knows anything about exobiology really wants NASA to go to Europa. Why?
On Earth, water is what fuels life. Of course, there are a lot of other things that fuel life on our planet, but water is an integral part of life as we know it. Indeed, so far all of our research has indicated thatwhere there is water, there is life (Earth isnt called the Pale Blue Dot for nothing). And while it is possible that alien life could exists on other worlds and thrive off of something else entirely (iron, maybe?), when one is searching for the first signs of life out in the universe, it makes sense to look for it in familiar places.
Which is precisely why we turn to water.
Really, the universe is kind of a big place, so it wouldnt make too much sense for us to head to the volcanic plains of Venus, even though it is similar in size to Earth, as weve no real indication that life is likely going to be found there (though it is still a possibility). Moreover, water is a logical place to look for life as Earths oceans are home to a variety of life at every depth (even the darkest corners and deepest pits). In addition to this, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration estimates that nearly half of all life on Earth lives in the ocean.
Imagine what we would miss if we didnt plumb the farthest reaches of our water for life? No giant squid, no angler fish it would be a sad word indeed.
Thus, the above image ultimately demonstrates why we need to go to Europa. According to the information that was complied by NASAs Galileo satellite, the amount of liquid life (water) sloshing about beneath the surface of this tiny, icy moon is approximately 23 times more voluminous than the oceans here on Earth. Keep in mind that Europa is a tad smaller than the Earth, well, quite a bit smaller, actually. However, the amount of water that it contains is not more than twice as much proportionally. Instead, there is 23 times more in total volume.
Since this moon has such an abundance of H2O, and since it seems that this water is in a liquid state, and since where we find water we find life, scientists think that Europa has an amazing chance of harboring life.
Also note, Europa has been seen ejecting plumes of water into space, so we know that the water beneath is, in fact, in a liquid state. But of course, it is difficult to know exactly how much of this water is frozen. It is possible that the ice may be hundreds of yards thick. Still, even with all that ice, that would leave a lot of liquid water. We would just need to drill a bit to get to it.
Ultimately, the water on Europa is kept in liquid state because of the immense gravitational forces that it experiences because of its proximity to Jupiter, and also because of the moons global ocean currents (things that we will need to contend with if/when we ever get there).
Fortunately for us, NASA is planning a trip to Europa. Unfortunately for us, traveling to alien worlds is no easy process. The launch is not anticipated until 2025, and the craft will not arrive until 2030 (and thats assuming that the project gets the go-ahead). And of course, that is also assuming that all goes well. It is entirely possible that there will be a number of setbacks. Yet, it is also possible that there will be great advances in our technology, and we may get there far sooner than anticipated (I am not holding my breath on this one, as the economics of the project is still a serious factor, but it is possible).
So, heres to a hopeful future and continued funds for NASA!
Learn more about the potential mission at the video below.
YouTube:Europa NASA Ice Penetrating Mission 2037
While we do know that beneath the frozen mantle that is the surface of Europa, the water beneath exists in a liquid state.
The only question I have about life within the depths of Europa is the huge amounts of radiation emanating from Jupiter that would prevent life from flourishing.
Sadly for us all, the future of Mankind, most of these exotic plans of exploration were not meant to be. The promise of the lunar base we were supposed to already had established over a decade ago at the dawn of the 21st Century as heirloom to the future, envisioned colonies on Mars, the acquisition of warp drive travel to the stars via fusion, matter-anti-matter technology, none of which have come close to living up to expectations, for several reasons.
If it has no military application, politicians are woefully lacking in the imagination and romantic proclivity required that might have have brought us closer to the exceedingly ambitious goals we've allowed ourselves to be deluded by.
Secondly, and most fundamentally is the scarcity of funds in the untold trillions of dollars spent on political considerations with absolutely nothing to show for it and even less than that when you realize how Iran has been the major beneficiary of the funds that should have been earmarked towards the heavens. Thinking of what a modest moon base would cost and considering the boondoggle that the Iraq War turned out to be, not merely financially, economically but for all those who had their lives thrown away that any would-be space traveler has got to feel sick about.
Handing the space baton over to you.....
ALL THESE WORLDS ARE YOURS EXCEPT EUROPA ATTEMPT NO LANDING THERE
“All these worlds are yours except Europa. Attempt no landings there.”
Don’t you think that we should start our search for intelligent life a little closer to home, like say Washington DC?
Mine’s also properly formatted, as it appeared on the screen in the movie. ;-)
I think emperor 0bama would rather go to Uranus.
No. We should search for intelligent life where there’s some chance it may exist. No matter how remote
Sterilized to remove contagion, then terraformed.
There’s no intelligent life there, just nucleocytoplasmic large DNA viruses.
Spend the money to take care of earth bound problems first before sending a probe to one gigantic block of ice with little or no life other than that that can viewed through a microscope which can only be obtained after drilling through miles of ice
I was going to say something about Arthur C. Clarke, but I see you guys have everything under control. :-)
Where is that picture from?
In the second place, my dear Theon, nothing that has been said proves impossible the alleged inhabitation of the moon ... It is plausible that the men on the moon, if they do exist, are slight of body and capable of being nourished by whatever comes their way.
Plutarch - Concerning the Face which Appears on the Orb of the Moon
If you read the whole essay, it's hard to beleive that this level of thinking, which approaches modernity, occurred in the first century A.D.
There’s more material we didn’t touch on.
Some stuff from 3001 final odyssey, and 2061 odyssey three.
DAMM! I love that movie and I should have thought of it first!
I guess if life started out on the surface and worked itself downward it theoretically might be much less likely to have started at all. If it’s there at all and was seeded or something by someone or something, if they are that level doesn’t seem like you would bother putting life on something where it couldn’t survive. If it started in the depths around vents with lots of ice and water above or something would the radiation even be a factor?
That’s the first thing I thought of.....
> Spend the money to take care of earth bound problems first
Like the war on poverty?
More like paying down our debt. You forgot the /s tag...: )
I’m waiting for a 2061 odyssey three reference somewhere.
“If we are unable to download, remember us.” HALman in 3001 Final Odyssey
“We’ll be the Pirate Twins again...”
Perhaps they can contract this out to a company that already demonstrated they can get water and transport it long distances...
How many books are there in that series anyway?
Did I miss some, I wonder? I’m thinking I did.
2001, 2010, 2061, 3001.
I never got to read 2061 odyssey three.
Yep. Watch out for those things. They’re pretty nasty and obviously hungry for astronauts.
I guess I’m going to have to check out the local library, then.
I’ve been wanting to track down all four.
I have the last one in paperback.
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue would be the first place to see alien life. I’m not sure if it is intelligent.
Absolutely correct. A nation with a large surplus can afford to spend money on pure exploration projects. But a nation with a large deficit cannot afford such a luxury.
And I say that as a person with some experience in pure research (chemistry).
Shouldn’t one expect some identifiable biological remnants on the these surfaces, noting the presence of eruptions on Europa, and good evidence for water from beneath breaking the surface of Enceledus? I’d think there’d be something we could detect spectroscopically.
They do see chemicals that indicate life on earth but lots of chemicals can exist without life. We once believed methane was produced only by life but there’s just too much of it for it all to have been made by life.
Titan has oceans of methane.
The problem with ice will soon be a thing of the past, as climate change affects other planets, according to the latest research.
How will this make Muslims feel good about themselves?
How funny. The first comment, “handing the space baton over to you” was supposed to be pinged to you, sunkenciv, when I posted this yesterday. Lo and behold as I reviewed this thread just now, I couldn’t believe that in handing the baton over to you, I mistakenly handed it to myself. Sorry about that.
Dammit, now the dang space baton is floating around in zero-grav.
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LOL. That’s not a baton. It’s my toupee.
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