Russian Academy of Sciences to Explore One of Jupiter’s Moons
According to news sources, scientists in an effort to research the possibility of life forms in the water environment of the moon, are very attracted to the celestial body, Europa. At just over 3,100 km (more than 1,500 miles) diameter, Europa is slightly smaller than Earth's Moon and is the sixth-largest moon in the Solar System. Composed primarily of silicate rock, Europa likely has an iron core. Scientists are certain that an ocean lies beneath its dense layers of ice, and that future research will permanently resolve the issue.
The reason scientists believe that a large body of water lies beneath Europa is because of the presence of a tenuous atmosphere, which is composed primarily of oxygen. The surface of ice is young and one of the smoothest in the Solar System. It is conceivable that this could sustain a home for extraterrestrial life. Heat energy from tidal flexing ensures that the ocean remains liquid and drives geological activity.
Discovered in 1610 by Galileo (and possibly independently by Simon Marius), Europa was named after a mythical Phoenician noblewoman, who was courted by Zeus and became the queen of Crete. It is the smallest of the four Galilean moons.
A.V. Zakharov, a scientist at the Space Research Institute said:
“It is too early to say that a mission to Europa is ready. We will have to study every detail of the project at first and look into all potential difficulties that may arise from this initiative. The process will take a couple of years, and we will then decide if the Russian mission to Europa becomes a reality or not.”
It is not likely that a rover to Europa will be launched before 2020, as Russian scientists have calculated that it would require seven or eight years to complete all the necessary technical preparations. NASA has officially given its okay to go ahead with the project and an official statement on the matter is expected imminently.
Is there sustainable life on Europa?
Time will tell.
Until then, sleep well.
M Dee Dubroff