NASA To Search For Life On Europa

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NASA To Search For Life On Europa

Post by Rogue on Mon Jun 22, 2015 5:05 am


NASA Preps Mission To Search For Life On Europa, One Of Jupiter's Moons
The Huffington Post | By Ed Mazza
Posted: 06/22/2015

The celestial body with the greatest potential for life in the solar system may not be Mars after all. Europa, one of Jupiter's moons, is believed to have an ocean just beneath its frozen crust -- and some scientists think it may have just the right ingredients for life.

Now, NASA is getting ready to send a spacecraft there to find out more.

"We know that on Earth, everywhere that there's water, we find life," Robert Pappalardo, Europa Mission project scientist, said in a video released by the space agency. "So could Europa have the ingredients to support life?"

Pappalardo also wrote a blog post about the Europa mission last month for The Huffington Post. "Finding life elsewhere would end our cosmic isolation: if there is life in our own planetary backyard, then life is probably common throughout the universe," he wrote at the time.

Europa is one of the four largest moons of Jupiter, which were discovered by Galileo in 1610. Along with its icy crust and the possible ocean beneath, the moon is known for the red streaks across its surface.

"There is too much evidence right now lying around on the surface -- the red stuff -- that suggests that something's going on there," Claudia Alexander, who was mission project manager of the Galileo spacecraft, which circled Jupiter and its moons in the 1990s, said in the clip. "Is that an environment that is habitable for any sort of life form? By golly, we really have got to go back and figure that out."

The potential mission to Europa passed its first major review last week, and is now headed toward a phase of development called formulation. If everything goes according to plan, the spacecraft will launch in the 2020s for a journey that will take several years.

Once it arrives, the spacecraft will orbit Jupiter rather than the moon itself.

"Europa is bathed in radiation from Jupiter," Pappalardo said. "Any mission that goes in the vicinity of Europa is cooked pretty quickly."

To prevent that from happening, the spacecraft will orbit Jupiter, make close flybys of Europa, then quickly leave that radioactive hot zone. It would repeat the process about every two weeks.

NASA said the mission plans will allow for at least 45 flybys of Europa -- at times getting within 16 miles of its icy crust. During each flyby, the instruments on board the craft will wake up to take photographs and other readings.

According to NASA:

The selected payload includes cameras and spectrometers to produce high-resolution images of Europa's surface and determine its composition. An ice penetrating radar will determine the thickness of the moon's icy shell and search for subsurface lakes similar to those beneath Antarctica's ice sheet. The mission will also carry a magnetometer to measure the strength and direction of the moon's magnetic field, which will allow scientists to determine the depth and salinity of its ocean.

In 2012, the Hubble Space Telescope spotted what appeared to be giant plumes of water erupting from the surface of Europa. Those plumes have not been seen since. However, if they occur again, the spacecraft would be able to fly through the water vapor and take samples.

“Today we’re taking an exciting step from concept to mission, in our quest to find signs of life beyond Earth,” John Grunsfeld, associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, said in a news release. “Observations of Europa have provided us with tantalizing clues over the last two decades, and the time has come to seek answers to one of humanity’s most profound questions.”
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/06/22/nasa-europa-mission_n_7634154.html
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Re: NASA To Search For Life On Europa

Post by Rogue on Mon Jun 22, 2015 5:05 am


Could a liquid water ocean beneath the surface of Jupiter’s moon Europa have the ingredients to support life? Here's how NASA's mission to Europa would find out.
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Re: NASA To Search For Life On Europa

Post by Agartha on Mon Jun 22, 2015 6:12 am

2020.... that's not too far so we will witness the new discoveries... and I can't wait!!!

They have evidence of water vapour and salty oceans, which indicates the strong possibility of life (as we know it).

I am fascinated by Europa, it looks so beautiful with its criss cross patterns on the ice.... Very Happy

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Re: NASA To Search For Life On Europa

Post by Rockhopper on Mon Jun 22, 2015 4:02 pm

Exactly. There is a strong possibility of life on Europa. It would be a little differently from Earth because of Jupiter's radiation. It would have had to evolve with protection from that.

Going to be a fascinating project!

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Re: NASA To Search For Life On Europa

Post by Agartha on Tue Jun 23, 2015 7:40 am

Before they start drilling they have the following questions that need answers:

— How deep and salty is the sub-surface ocean?
— How thick is the ice crust above it?
— How active is the crust?
— What is the pervasive “brown gunk” seen on the surface?
— What is the nature of the plumes spotted by Hubble and what role do they play?
http://spaceflightnow.com/2015/05/26/nasa-selects-instruments-for-europa-mission/

They can do that with spacecrafts and rovers, like in Mars. In the meantime they have to build the perfect drilling machine that could cut through hundreds of kms of ice.

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Re: NASA To Search For Life On Europa

Post by Stargate on Tue Jun 23, 2015 10:37 am

I do not want to burst anyone imaginative bubble, however we know too little about earth. I think it would be better to understand the real basis of earth life, and our moon, before we let our fantasy run wild.

There are planets with water but no life as we know it, something to think about.

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Re: NASA To Search For Life On Europa

Post by Agartha on Tue Jun 23, 2015 11:42 am

Stargate wrote:I do not want to burst anyone imaginative bubble, however we know too little about earth. I think it would be better to understand the real basis of earth life, and our moon, before we let our fantasy run wild.

There are planets with water but no life as we know it, something to think about.

I have been fascinated by space since I was a child, dreaming of being on the Enterprise and cruise the universe.... you are correct but I don't see any harm in exploring space and learning more..... learning is always a good thing. Very Happy

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Re: NASA To Search For Life On Europa

Post by Stargate on Tue Jun 23, 2015 12:12 pm

Agartha wrote:
Stargate wrote:I do not want to burst anyone imaginative bubble, however we know too little about earth. I think it would be better to understand the real basis of earth life, and our moon, before we let our fantasy run wild.

There are planets with water but no life as we know it, something to think about.

I have been fascinated by space since I was a child, dreaming of being on the Enterprise and cruise the universe.... you are correct but I don't see any harm in exploring space and learning more..... learning is always a good thing. Very Happy

Ags, like you I am very interested in space, but I live in space and I am on the enterprise. This is the most fascinating space ship. Everything we can learn about space is right here. If we went to another planet we would be faced with the same condition that we are faced with here. We have all the family planets, we have our own child, the moon. These people who are telling us about other planets do not know they are on a space ship, if they did they would learn about the ship and would know about other planets.

This is my interpretation of earth and earth life. You know how you could go in the forest and find a plant that you have never seen anywhere else? it is so rare you have to travel far to maybe see another one. Some times you may never see it again, however it does not mean other plants do not exist, it just means it's rare. This is my view of earth.

We do not have to use space ships and binoculars to study space, we just have to extend our spiritual selves.

Learning, is the objective of life, but there is a how, first we need to understand ourselves and how we function, and then understand where we are in the moment of life.
I know this cannot be everyone's philosophy, this is my subjective input. Smile

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Re: NASA To Search For Life On Europa

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