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Could Europa's Oceans Be Alive?

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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 frozen surface?

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 moons.

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 Earth.

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 the same!


Images courtesy: JPL/NASA


posted on Jun, 30 2007 @ 09:02 AM
Thanks for the interesting post!
Hopefully we will know some answers about this in our lifetime. Don't think this will happen....Big step is how life does start, and environment its in to evolve.
At this point, I feel something is up there beyond our Earth with the numbers discussed over and over again, but nothing can be proved.
UFO sightings can be anything, something beyond our science or understanding, and label it to visitors from space...
Are the stars full of life, something many wish, or are we simply just alone?

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