Unmasking Jupiter’s Europa -Does Its Hidden Ocean Harbor Life?

Unmasking Jupiter’s Europa -Does Its Hidden Ocean Harbor Life?

So exciting!  Several years ago, I wrote a paper for Astronomy class about why I think there is a case to be made for life on other worlds, citing Europa, one of the many moons of Jupiter, as my guide.  At the time, what was known about Europa was that there was ice there.  Where there is ice, there is water.  (Mars has some ice too)  Now after the Galileo flyover, it is known for certain that not only is there ice but there is liquid water.  Liquid water of course, being one of the primary requirements to support carbon based life forms.  So is there a possibilty of life on Europa?  Definitely possible..but how probable…That remains to be seen. 

The definitive word on whether life could be present will depend greatly on how thick the layer of ice is that covers the surface of Europa.

In addition, the ice covered moon has been ‘resurfaced’ sometime in the last 50 million years, so something big is going on within the core.  Scientists have determined this due to the large lack of crater impacts on the surface.

What an exciting time..hopefully there will be more probes sent soon to find out how thick that ice is..let’s hope for under 5 kilometres!!

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One thought on “Unmasking Jupiter’s Europa -Does Its Hidden Ocean Harbor Life?

  1. I’ve always found it interesting that Arthur C. Clarke wrote in his book “2001: A Space Odyssey”: “All these worlds are yours except Europa. Attempt no landings there.”

    I’m reminded of this quote each time there’s a news article published about this tiny moon. With its surface covered in what is believed to be an ice-encrusted ocean, who knows what life (or other wonders) might exist there? Good stuff!

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