In college, I spent a year working on a huge project on an area of astronomy through which we wanted to further explore.  I chose the topic of the Galilean moon, Europa.


Here is an excerpt from one of my reports


“Europa is one of Jupiter’s satellites and a very promising and exciting subject of study.  Many astronomers look upon Europa with a keen eye because of what might rest
underneath its frozen crust of ice water. 
It is a well accepted hypothesis among the scientific community that an
ocean in liquid form subtends the moon’s icy crust.


On Earth, where there exists water there exists life (even in extreme conditions), so a liquid ocean covering Europa indicates the possibility that there could be simple life beneath its surface.


There is a current research project funded by NASA’S Astrobiology Science and Technology for Exploring the Planets (ASTEP) Program.  The ENDURANCE project is an
underwater vehicle whose endeavors on Earth make under-the-ice exploration on
Europa feasible.”


I’d be interested to know what you all think of this.  There are two competing theories 1) that the water is frozen through or ductile up to the mantle of the moon and 2) that the water beneath the frozen surface is liquid form up to the mantle.  My project supports the second theory.  If the second theory could at all be proven
than the possibility of finding microbial life…extremophiles is a viable possibility.


I am biased, but I believe this opportunity for discovery should be high priority in the space program.  The project ENDURANCE is slow moving at best.  And I can see it being used for Earth-bound
purposes long before it goes to Europa.


http://www.evl.uic.edu/endurance/bonney09.html


Thoughts?

Views: 52

Replies to This Discussion

I am biased, but I believe this opportunity for discovery should be high priority in the space program. The project ENDURANCE is slow moving at best. And I can see it being used for Earth-bound
purposes long before it goes to Europa.


I think this is what sent us in a distracted direction, but point takin Stephanie.

Can you tell us your reasons for leaning toward the second theory?

Had to add this Stephanie! It ends with Neil deGrasse Tyson, yeah Im a fanboy, I know! ;-)
That is one very very interesting prospect! Life here on our very own solar system. Now, there is one other card I would use to push the envelope on a mission that valuable... it can also be useful for practical means, ans one of the limitations on space travel is the need for supplies to maintain human beings alive. That water can be purified for consumption, and electrolised to obtain Hydrogen for fuel and O2 to supplement air scrubbers. The idea in turn opens the window for a more permanent settlement there, as both a space waystation of sorts and a permanent scientific outpost to study the possibility of life there. Come think of it, why aren't they working on the idea already!?

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