posted on Jun, 30 2007 @ 07:14 AM
In our quest for seeking out life on Mars, we seem to have forgotten Europa, Jupiter’s fourth largest Moon. Europa has some lines and crevasses,
but scarcely any of those unsightly craters or disfiguring bumps that scar most moons.
Even when Europa's surface shapes are strengthened by shadows, it's still strangely smooth for a solar system satellite. Compare Europa to
Mars, which has 450 craters larger than 100 kilometers in diameter.
That may be because Europa seems to be resilient as its smooth surface may rest on a giant subterranean ocean. Detailed photos taken by the satellite
Galileo leads one to believe so. Does this frozen moon contain the largest ocean in the solar system? And if so, could life exist beneath this deeply
Brown University planetary geologist James Head, a long-time student of Europa, says that liquid water may exist despite the frigid conditions in
Jupiter's neighborhood. Europa's insides may be warmed by the interaction between Jupiter's immense gravity and the gravity of Europa and other
And those surface cracks you notice on Europa probably occur when slushy ice or water wells up from below and shoulders the ice aside. Head says the
upwards movement causes those ridges that parallel the cracks. Well, that’s the theory. But could these parallel
lines / fissures / crevasses
be something else?
So then, does the evidence of a liquid ocean on Jupiter's moon Europa indicate that this moon houses extraterrestrial life? Europa's surface is
covered with frozen water at a nippy -150 C. The coldest place on Earth is Vostok at -89 C. Not much colder! So if there’s life in Vostok, what is
the possibility of alien life forms inhabiting Europa’s oceans?
But don't forget that life on Earth apparently originated in water. And scientists have found life in unbelievably bizarre crannies on
And then, if Europa does harbor life, could it not have evolved into intelligent life forms after all these millennia? Take a look at Europa’s
surface in the pic below. Resembles a nice little cityscape like downtown LA!! Did I mean it’s a city of aliens? No! But it looks fascinating all
Images courtesy: JPL/NASA