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What might we find underneath Europa’s protective ice shield?

What might we find underneath Europa’s protective ice shield?

“Two possibilities exist: either we are alone in the Universe or we are not. Both are equally terrifying.” ― Arthur C. Clarke

A new SF film came out recently, Europa Report, about an international crew of astronauts on a privately funded mission to Jupiter’s fourth largest moon. The team dreams of all the discoveries that lie in wait for them on their way over there but unfortunately the ride doesn’t go as smooth as planned…

Check out Mark Bruce’s spoiler free post if you need any more convincing to go see it > – and save this article until after you’ve seen it cause it deals with the accuracy of the science portrayed. –

Europa has emerged as one of the top locations in the Solar System in terms of potential habitability and the possibility of hosting extraterrestrial life. Life could exist in its under-ice ocean, perhaps subsisting in an environment similar to Earth’s deep-ocean hydrothermal vents. Life in such an ocean could possibly be similar to microbial life on Earth in the deep ocean. So far, there is no evidence that life exists on Europa, but the likely presence of liquid water has spurred calls to send a probe there. 

We’ve spent quite a bit of time and effort trying to understand if Mars was once a habitable environment. Europa today, probably, is a habitable environment. We need to confirm this but Europa, potentially, has all the ingredients for life … and not just four billion years ago … but today.

“All these worlds are yours, except Europa. Attempt no landing there.” -HAL-9000 [message relayed from monolith], 2010

No, the picture below is not of a European. it’s a terrestrial species of sea angel, Clione limacina. (Clione is a genus of small floating sea slugs.)

#ScienceSunday  | ScienceSunday 


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