Life On Europa

By: Alma Munoz

Is Jupiter's icy moon a good place to sustain life? Europa is the sixth moon of Jupiter and it’s the sixth largest moon in the solar system. Europa's surface is covered with a thick layer of ice with an estimate of measuring 19 kilometers(11.8061 meters). Scientist have taken a great interest in Jupiter's moon, they have theorized that Europa's salt water ocean might be able to sustain life.

Some scientist say that beneath the surface there might be active volcanoes that heat up the water and melt the ice to create a lager ocean. With the combination of volcanism and water good things happen crating carbon which is one of he most important characteristics required to sustain life. “Europa is one of the primer places to search for living life, that is, life that’s alive today, life that we can poke and prod at and ask this fundamental question of what makes it tick.” said Kevin Hand, the deputy chief scientist of solar system exploration at NASAs jet propulsion laboratory.

In 2011 NASA awarded $4 million to Stone Aerospace to continue their mission in developing “cryobot” a machine that is designed to explore Europa's ocean. Sending a nuclear powered crobot through the icy surface to search and collect biological samples and bring them back us for further instigation. Ideally the “leader” of the robot crew will be hopefully equipped with life detecting instrumentation. Europa has internal heat therefore it might have hydrothermal venting, if it does and if the chemistry is right then it will have a huge impact on humanity to find life in an ocean, on another world. Having even the slightest chance of there being life on another planet has given people a new perspective on what might happen to humanity in the future. But if there is, then it will be the most amazing discovery ever made in history.

Juno is a NASA spacecraft that launched on August 5th 2011 and is expected to reach Europa sometime in 2016 at a speed of 8,800 miles an hour. Juno will not land on the moon however, once it reaches its wanted location Juno will not land, but orbit the moon 32 times to help scientist observe and gather the information needed to know how the moon works and to see the similarities between Europa and earth. When the spacecraft is done, it will simply return to earth with the information gathered.

In conclusion, where we live there is no telling what is going to happen next or what new discoveries we will uncover. Who knows maybe someone or something from another planet, or galaxy might discover us. Finding out that there is life in another planet will bring such a great impact on our society and bring tons of new hypothesis, theories and perspectives in all of us. We will all see life differently knowing that we are no alone in this endless sky of danger and adventure.