Monday, NASA will be holding a press conference to announce a “major breakthrough” regarding Jupiter’s moon Europa. Could there be extraterrestrial life involved? Excerpt:
The US group sent out a cryptic message, stating that there is “surprising activity” on Europa – the most well known of Jupiter’s 67 moons.
NASA has been analysing data from its Hubble Space Telescope which is currently prowling the universe.
The space experts said in a statement announcing the event on Monday, to be broadcast live at 7PM UK time: “Astronomers will present results from a unique Europa observing campaign that resulted in surprising evidence of activity that may be related to the presence of a subsurface ocean on Europa.”
Most scientists agree that where there is water, it massively increases the chances of finding life.
Europa has long been touted as a possible host of life elsewhere in the Solar System, and even boffins working on the Juno Probe, which is currently in orbit around Jupiter, believe that it could be a likely habitable zone for some lifeforms.
Of course, NASA hasn’t said anything about life – yet. And, smart money says they won’t.
It’s generally accepted that there is a water ocean under Europa’s ice pack, kept warm (or, at least, liquid) by the moon’s constant tidal flexing as it orbits its Jovian primary. And the appearance of the funny orange discolorations on its surface are consistent with organic materials.
If there is life in the solar system other than on Earth, Europa’s probably the best candidate, maybe even better than Mars. It has liquid water, it has organic material; on Earth, where you find those things, you find life.
Monday may be a very interesting day.