The interaction between the ocean and the rocks could possibly supply chemical nutrients for living organisms. This enhanced-color image from NASA’s Juno spacecraft captures the striking cloud bands of Jupiter’s southern latitudes. In 1979 the two Voyager spacecraft passed through the Jovian system, providing the first hints that Europa might contain liquid water. 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. Europa has only a tenuous atmosphere of oxygen, but in 2013, NASA announced that researchers using the Hubble Space Telescope found evidence that Europa might be actively venting water into space. The Search for Life Light from the Sun takes about 45 minutes to reach Europa. Jupiter’s large Galilean satellites (Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto) likely formed out of leftover material after Jupiter condensed from the initial cloud of gas and dust surrounding the sun, early in the history of the solar system. Europa's bright, icy surface is a landscape unlike anything seen on Earth. NASA has an unusually bold plan to find life on Europa . } Europa might well have them. $('body').css('overflow','') Most of the heat would be focused at the boundary between the ocean and the icy crust. The effect is more than just a cool visual. In November 2019, an international research team led by NASA announced they had directly detected water vapor for the first time above Europa’s surface. The radiation splits apart water molecules (H2O, made of oxygen and hydrogen) in Europa's extremely tenuous atmosphere. Decades ago, science fiction offered a hypothetical scenario: What if alien life were thriving in an ocean beneath the icy surface of Jupiter’s moon Europa? The next full Moon will be on Thursday afternoon, Oct. 1, 2020. } if($full.length > 0){ Its bulk density suggests that it is similar in composition to the terrestrial planets, being primarily composed of silicate rock. In short, Europa may have a variety of processes that work together to make the chemical energy available for powering life processes of simple organisms like bacteria. Related categories ALTERNATIVE FORMS OF LIFE Artist's concept image by NASA / JPL. "name": "Europa 3D Model", Kristen Erickson Europa’s vast and unfathomably deep ocean is widely considered the most promising place to look for life beyond Earth. Europa’s water-ice surface is crisscrossed by long, linear fractures. Over time, the orbits of most large satellites or planets tend to become circular, but in the case of these three satellites, the resonance produces a forced eccentricity since the satellites line up with each other at the same points in their orbits over and over, giving each other a small gravitational tug that keeps their orbits from becoming circular. This moon of Jupiter might have life in a subsurface ocean. NASA's Juno mission has provided its first science results on the amount of water in Jupiter's atmosphere. The possibility of life on Europa has been explored in some depth fictionally by Arthur C. Clarke in the three sequels to his 2001: A Space Odyssey – 2010, 2061, and 3001. The reduced density at greater distances is likely due to temperature: denser, rocky and metal material condenses out first, close to Jupiter or the Sun, while lighter-weight icy material only condenses out at larger distances where it is colder. Water is at the top of the list of ingredients that make life possible. Europa is an icy moon of Jupiter and one of the four so-called Galilean moons of Jupiter. console.log("received message", event) Galileo also found regions called "chaos terrain," where broken, blocky landscapes were covered in mysterious reddish material. Unlike Earth, however, Europa’s ocean lies below a shell of ice probably 10 to 15 miles (15 to 25 kilometers) thick and has an estimated depth of 40 to 100 miles (60 to 150 kilometers). If life were found at Europa, how might it change your view of the cosmos and our place in it? If we eventually find some form of life at Europa (or Mars or Enceladus for that matter), it may look like microbes, or maybe something more complex. Europa's surface is blasted by radiation from Jupiter. R. Thompson The tidal flexing also may be creating enough heat inside Europa to maintain a liquid ocean beneath the moon's icy surface.