Scientists are taking a fresh look at Jupiter’s moon Europe as a possible home for alien life after re-examining old data that suggests there is water on Jupiter’s most famous moon.
In 1997, NASA’s Galileo spacecraft completed a flyby of Europe and mission data shows that there was a curve in the moon’s magnetic field.
Analyzing the data again, the researchers believe that the curve could have been caused by a geyser of water gushing from Europe’s icy surface.
Planetary scientist Elizabeth Turtle of the Johns Hopkins University Laboratory of Applied Physics said: “We know that Europe has many of the ingredients necessary for life, certainly for life as we know it. There’s water. There is energy ».
In addition, he argued that “There is a certain amount of carbon material. But the habitability of Europe is one of the great questions that we want to understand ».
He also stated that “And one of the really exciting things about detecting a feather is that it means that there may be ways that ocean material – which is probably the most habitable part of Europe because it is warmer and is protected of radiation from the environment by the ice sheet – to exit above the ice sheet. And that means that we will be able to prove it. ”
NASA is planning a mission to Europe, one of Jupiter’s 53 confirmed moons, that could be launched in 2024.
When NASA first announced that it was going to Europe, it said there are three objectives of the potential mission: to find out if there is, or has ever been, life in Europe, to assess whether the celestial body is habitable, and to analyze the surface of the moon. for future missions.
The space agency said in a statement: “Europe may hold the keys to one of NASA’s long-standing goals: to determine whether or not we are alone in the universe. The highest-level scientific objective of the mission presented here is the search for evidence of life in Europe. ”
“This mission would significantly advance our understanding of Europe as an ocean world, even in the absence of definitive signs of life, and would provide the basis for future robotic exploration of Europe.”