NASA Mission Seeks To Find Life On Jupiter Moon 'Europa'

First Posted: May 18, 2016 05:00 AM EDT

Jupiter moon Europa has been obtained through several close flights from the NASA 1979 Voyager 2 spacecraft and Galileo spacecraft in the 1990s.  Through these encounters, scientists have discovered an ice-covered, fractured world with indications of a liquid water ocean underneath the surface. Based on further analysis, an environment such as this will likely become a habitat for microbial life.

The Jupiter moon Europa surface can be a major step in the investigation of its Astrobiology.  Astrobiology Journal's Senior Editor  Chris McKay said that the surface materials, which are likely close to the linear crack features, should have biomarkers that are carried from the ocean.  

Exploration to the Jupiter moon Europa should include sending a robotic lander and determine what to search for and what instruments must be brought. According to NASA's  Robert Pappalardo, a number of preparation is required prior to Europa landing. He added that with the help of some research studies, they could focus on the needed technology, including the required data to help them in searching for potential landing locations. Pappalardo also said that Europa is the best candidate in the solar system beyond Earth that could have life today, and that a landed exploration will be the ideal way to look for signs of life, Daily Galaxy reported.

The NASA exploration will seek to determine if Jupiter moon Europa can bear conditions that are fit for life. Past missions on Europa have given strong evidence for that kind of condition mission - that the moon has the potential to harbor global ocean under its icy crust; the ocean's chemical compounds can give a variety of elements needed for Earth-like organisms; and there is an acceptable oceanic condition for existing terrestrial life.

Jupiter moon Europa is among the four massive Jovian moons, which has the size of the Earth's moon. The NASA scientists believe in the existence of the frozen crust with 40 miles thick that separates the ocean from the surface. When heated by the interior of Europa, the ocean may bear over twice as much water as the Earth's oceans, according to   Daily Galaxy.

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