Skip to comments.Europa Lander May Not Have to Dig Deep to Find Signs of Life
Posted on 07/23/2018 7:32:23 PM PDT by Simon Green
If signs of life exist on Jupiter's icy moon Europa, they might not be as hard to find as scientists had thought, a new study reports.
The 1,900-mile-wide (3,100 kilometers) Europa harbors a huge ocean beneath its icy shell. What's more, astronomers think this water is in contact with the moon's rocky core, making a variety of complex and intriguing chemical reactions possible.
Researchers therefore regard Europa as one of the solar system's best bets to harbor alien life. Europa is also a geologically active world, so samples of the buried ocean may routinely make it to the surface via localized upwelling of the ocean itself, for example, and/or through geyser-like outgassing, evidence of which has been spotted multiple times by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope. [Photos: Europa, Mysterious Icy Moon of Jupiter]
NASA aims to hunt for such samples in the not-too-distant future. The agency is developing a flyby mission called Europa Clipper, which is scheduled to launch in the early 2020s. Clipper will study Europa up close during dozens of flybys, some of which might be able to zoom through the moon's suspected water-vapor plumes. And NASA is also working on a possible post-Clipper lander mission that would search for evidence of life at or near the Europan surface.
It's unclear, however, just how deep a Europa lander would need to dig to have a chance of finding anything. That's because Europa orbits within Jupiter's radiation belts and is bombarded by fast-moving charged particles, which can turn amino acids and other possible biosignatures into mush.
I thought they said attempt no landing there.
Why not Ganymede? Robert Heinlein already wrote a book about it!
The monoliths are gonna be pissed.
Man, things were going so good with MAGA somebody just had to do this!?!
“It’s unclear, however, just how deep a Europa lander would need to dig to have a chance of finding anything.” Of course it’s “unclear.” Pure fairy tales at the taxpayer’s teat.
I would think jupiters radiation would have a detrimenral effect on life there. I know water shields from radiation, but I would think that messes up anything on or near the surface.
I’m sorry Dave, I can’t do that......
“We’ll be the Pirate Twins again...”
I believe the surface temps vary from -170 at equator to -350 or so at the poles...perfect temp for unlimited chemical reactions (sarcasm alert)...atmosphere mostly oxygen...hmmmmm...oxidative destuction of surface molecules?...doesnt sound conducive to abiogenesis....just sayin...research sounds interesting tho....
Plus...Europa orbits within Jupiter’s radiation belts and is bombarded by fast-moving charged particles, which can turn amino acids and other possible biosignatures into mush.
Clipper will study Europa up close during dozens of flybys, some of which might be able to zoom through the moon’s suspected water-vapor plumes.
Why don’t they save some money and sample the water plume?
Not too long ago it was a dream and fairy tale to even consider sending a spacecraft nearly 400,000 million miles away to an outer planet.
If THE lANDER landed in the US Congress, they would have to drill very deep to find any signs of life, intelligent or otherwise.
Dave’s not here.
So... have they found life on Uranus?
Great! Thanks for the smile!
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