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It's Time To Look For Life Somewhere Else Other Than Mars, NASA Europa Mission Report Says

First Posted: Feb 15, 2017 05:05 AM EST
NASA Europa Mission Report
Europa lander should be sent by 2031, as recommended by the NASA Europa Mission Report.
(Photo : dfkivideo/YouTube screenshot)

Although the hypothetical Martians are our favorite aliens, it does not negate the possibility of finding alien life forms on other planets and moons of the Solar System. Many experts are of the opinion that if we really want to explore the possibility of finding life forms in distant places of the Solar System, then it is only wise that the horizons of the search be widened. The recently launched Europa mission is one such welcome initiative.

NASA formed a Science Definition Team (SDT), which comprised of 21 expert scientists, who were asked to review the various aspects of the Europa Lander Mission. The SDT has finally submitted the Europa Mission Report. It is recommended that the Europa Lander Mission should send a probe to the icy moon of Jupiter by 2031, a year after the already planned flyby mission over Europa.

The NASA Europa Mission Report also stated that, while being there, the probe should focus on exploring the illusive gigantic ocean, which is hiding beneath its surface. The probe will collect samples from the ocean and also drill 4 inches below the surface of Europa and study the samples. While experts are optimistic regarding the success of the Europa Lander Mission, they are still perplexed about the possibility about contaminating its surface.

According to Seth Shostak, Astronomer from the SETI Institute, California, Europa is the next most obvious and logical destination for exploring the existence of life. Nonetheless, the surface is icy. After researchers identified the ocean beneath its surface, which supposedly has more water than all Earth's oceans combined, the speculations of existence of life on Europa has gained popularity, Gizmodo reported.

Shostak also accepted the possible risks of contamination. "There's always this contamination issue; There's forward contamination and backward contamination," he said. He, however, explained that the extreme changes in the atmospheric conditions will eliminate most of the microbes sent or brought back home, so there may not be much to worry about.

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