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NASA Planning for a Possible Landing attempt on Europa

Europa has an ocean under its Icy surface

If the world isn’t destroyed in 2012 by a shower of gigantic meteors, or extraterrestrials taking over the Earth for all of its resources, than we have a lot to be excited about regarding space exploration.

NASA is planning for a possible attempt to land on Jupiter’s moon Europa. Europa is believed to have a liquid water ocean under a thick icy surface. Lakes were also spotted out on the surface of Europa. These findings make Europa a location that can possibly have other life on it. It is believed that there might be life under the very thick layer of ice on Europa’s’ surface in the oceans.

The earliest that NASA would launch two landers would be in 2020. It would take these landers 6 years to make it to Europa, so we wouldn’t have any news until  2026. This seems very far away, but it really isn’t.

Think about it.

In 14 years, we can possibly discover other life forms outside of planet Earth. This would be incredible, but with all of this excitement comes disappointment.

The landers would not be able to access the ocean water because the ice sheet over it is so thick. The oceans are well below the surface of Europa and NASA cannot send enough man power and tools to make it down there. NASA still has a great plan that might be able to hint towards life even with this restriction of an icy surface.

They could monitor and analyze the surface composition with a mass spectrometer and cameras.  The mass spectrometer can detect organics on the surface, while the cameras can catch any signs of life on video. Drilling deep down into the surface would take place in a more advanced mission possibly 70 years from now.

There is one problem that NASA is facing considering this mission. These landers might not have enough time on Europa to finish the project because of Jupiter’s high levels of radiation. Usually radiation would be defended by a strong atmosphere (like planet Earth), but Europa has an unprotected surface because of its tenuous atmosphere. This will set back the drilling mission as well.

Jupiter's radiation sets back space exploration

So for now, if the landers land on Europa in 2020, they will have a very limited time frame, and it seems like we will be depending mainly on the cameras and the mass spectrometer. This is still a huge step in space exploration and Earths future.

Now that NASA believes that other planets or moons have a livable environment, the non believers should start seeing it a little differently. If the environment can maintain life on it, than why can’t there be life outside of our planet?

We just don’t know if this other life will accept our friend request.

Would Aliens pose a threat to Planet Earth?

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One Response to NASA Planning for a Possible Landing attempt on Europa

  1. Pingback: Would Aliens Pose a Threat to Planet Earth? « Zazen Life

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