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Jupiter's Moon Europa Has Enough Oxygen For Life

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posted on Oct, 16 2009 @ 09:45 PM
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Long has it been thought that if life exsisted elsewhere in our solar system Europa is the prime candidate. New research now shows that aswell as water europa probably contains ample oxygen aswell. Not all organisms require O2 but a great deal of life on earth does.


New research suggests that there is plenty of oxygen available in the subsurface ocean of Europa to support oxygen-based metabolic processes for life similar to that on Earth. In fact, there may be enough oxygen to support complex, animal-like organisms with greater oxygen demands than microorganisms.

The global ocean on Jupiter’s moon Europa contains about twice the liquid water of all the Earth’s oceans combined. New research suggests that there may be plenty of oxygen available in that ocean to support life, a hundred times more oxygen than previously estimated.

The chances for life there have been uncertain, because Europa’s ocean lies beneath several miles of ice, which separates it from the production of oxygen at the surface by energetic charged particles (similar to cosmic rays). Without oxygen, life could conceivably exist at hot springs in the ocean floor using exotic metabolic chemistries, based on sulfur or the production of methane. However, it is not certain whether the ocean floor actually would provide the conditions for such life.

Therefore a key question has been whether enough oxygen reaches the ocean to support the oxygen-based metabolic process that is most familiar to us. An answer comes from considering the young age of Europa’s surface. Its geology and the paucity of impact craters suggests that the top of the ice is continually reformed such that the current surface is only about 50 million years old, roughly 1% of the age of the solar system.

Richard Greenberg of the University of Arizona has considered three generic resurfacing processes: gradually laying fresh material on the surface; opening cracks which fill with fresh ice from below; and disrupting patches of surface in place and replacing them with fresh material. Using estimates for the production of oxidizers at the surface, he finds that the delivery rate into the ocean is so fast that the oxygen concentration could exceed that of the Earth’s oceans in only a few million years. Greenberg presented his findings at the 41st meeting of the American Astronomical Society’s Division for Planetary Sciences now under way in Fajardo, Puerto Rico.


It's very exciting. NASA and ESA are working on getting the budget to send a mission to Europa


Our closest view of Europa was provided by the Galileo spacecraft, which orbited the Jupiter system from 1995 to 2003. Now researchers are developing a new plan to study the moon with even greater detail. The Europa-Jupiter System Mission (EJSM) calls for one spacecraft to orbit Europa and another to orbit Ganymede, another large moon of Jupiter that also may have a liquid ocean locked beneath an icy outer layer.

EJSM would be a joint mission of NASA and the European Space Agency, with ESA in charge of the Ganymede orbiter and NASA directing the Europa orbiter. Working together, the two spacecraft also would be able to conduct limited studies of the large moons Io and Callisto, as well as the planet Jupiter.

Brad Dalton of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, who is helping draft the EJSM proposal, says some of the instruments the Europa orbiter will carry include a camera, a spectrometer, and a powerful radar system. The radar would enable the spacecraft to peer through Europa's ice and figure out just how thick it is.


www.space.com...

More info on this mission can be found here

www.planetary.org...




posted on Oct, 16 2009 @ 09:58 PM
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S&F. Two good new threads from you tonight OP!

I hope I live long enough to see some unmanned submersable missions to Europa. I just keep picturing those big creatures from the underwater scene in Phantom Menace



posted on Oct, 16 2009 @ 10:55 PM
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Ye gods!


And how many other moons orbiting all those recently discovered gas giants numbering upwards 300 or so have oceans too?

We're gonna have to change our environmental definitions for life.

And I should get a bigger aquarium


Edit to add, hey, are there any divers here? Whose got enough balls, or is crazy enough to dive down there? Its a hypothetical question, but it might be a reality soon enough...

[edit on 10/16/2009 by Matyas]



posted on Oct, 19 2009 @ 04:12 AM
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Europa is no prime candidate at all. This is because the magnetic field of Jupiter is so strong that all living things would be sterilized from life. In ther words nothing can live there period. No big discovery here only wasted time and money.

This in fact is a totally laughable idea, and earlier I just said the same thing to another thread.
Please come to your senses people this kind of radiation can not overlooked and the product is a very sterile environment within the magnetosphere of Jupiter. Hate to burst your bubble but there is no real logic at work in the pusuit of ideas of life on Jupiters moons. This is the problem with science today, scientists commonly discard critical information in pursuit of some fantastic idea of something that cannot exist.

How can these so called scientists overlook something that obvious.
Jupiter does really have the most powerful magnetic field of all the planets. This cannot be discarded, there will never be life there.
Without some special shield man can never tread into this region either just a fact. I do find this subject to be really funny like some childs dream.



posted on Oct, 19 2009 @ 06:42 AM
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reply to post by Angel One
 


So you are claiming the radiation is strong enough to penetrate 2+ miles of ice?

And then how many miles of seawater?

Well, perhaps you're right, you know, you having been there and all...

in your mind!



posted on Oct, 19 2009 @ 02:33 PM
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I don't think the radiation would be as big of a factor under miles of ice. My quandary is the levels of H30 present. It has some pretty acidic and unstable properties and is not necessarily a good molecule for life.

We do see "heavy water" here on earth (the dead sea).

Not being a chemist I can't say for sure whether it would be a detrimental variable for life on Europa.



posted on Oct, 19 2009 @ 03:51 PM
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Originally posted by Angel One
Europa is no prime candidate at all. This is because the magnetic field of Jupiter is so strong that all living things would be sterilized from life. In ther words nothing can live there period. No big discovery here only wasted time and money.

This in fact is a totally laughable idea, and earlier I just said the same thing to another thread.
Please come to your senses people this kind of radiation can not overlooked and the product is a very sterile environment within the magnetosphere of Jupiter. Hate to burst your bubble but there is no real logic at work in the pusuit of ideas of life on Jupiters moons. This is the problem with science today, scientists commonly discard critical information in pursuit of some fantastic idea of something that cannot exist.

How can these so called scientists overlook something that obvious.
Jupiter does really have the most powerful magnetic field of all the planets. This cannot be discarded, there will never be life there.
Without some special shield man can never tread into this region either just a fact. I do find this subject to be really funny like some childs dream.


Are you the resident biophysicist? They can overlook something like that because there is no correlation between a planets magnetic feild and its detrimant to life.

You said the same thing to another thread. . . you said the exact same thing and its rediculous. . . evidence friend show some evidence otherwise your idea is just as hoakem as you say the scientists are.

I really get tired of seeing oh but the scientists omitted these facts their wasting your money blah blah blah. . . are you the hard line earth is 6000 years old and god created its life and life is only here?



posted on Oct, 21 2009 @ 04:46 AM
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reply to post by constantwonder
 


how about you proving any living thing can live in that field literally. This is no jedi force field here guys Jupiter is 318 Earth masses. I am putting my money that the magnetic field completely penetrates all that ice.

I am actually a student of geology studying to be a volcanologist and I understand the gological evidence and fully agree there is to much supervolcanic activity to account for in order for the Earth to be six thousand literal years old.

Sorry about the sarcasm but I really find those ideas funny.

I mean for real do you understand the power of a magnetic field that is produced by an object 318 times Earths mass.

I also believe in some sort of extraterrestrial existence.
[edit on 21-10-2009 by Angel One]

[edit on 21-10-2009 by Angel One]



posted on Oct, 21 2009 @ 06:43 PM
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reply to post by Angel One
 


First of all let's drop the notion life cannot thrive in a high radiation environment...

unitedcats.wordpress.com...

Besides we live with radioisotopes within our very own bodies...

www.rerowland.com...

And do you have any idea how deep that ocean is? Your argument could work for Io, but your case weakens considerably with Europa.



posted on Oct, 25 2009 @ 03:22 AM
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reply to post by Angel One
 


You are confusing a magnetic field, with an electromagnetic field and electromagnetic radiation.

The magnetic field around earth is responsible for PROTECTING life on this planet, as it shields us from all sorts of radiation, including forms of electromagnetic radiation. We would not be here without it.

While Jupiter emits elctromagnetic radiation like infrared, it itself is not emitting high-energy electromagnetic radiation. It has a very large magnetic field that traps radioactive ions from the sun and concentrates them in radiation belts just like the Van Allen belt around the earth.

The moons of Jupiter are not in these belts and the variable Europan magnetic field observed by the Galileo spacecraft should be able to protect the surface from what is radiated by these belts. Science does not think that that radiation penetrates very far under Europa's surface.

Strait science.

[edit on 25-10-2009 by charlyv]

[edit on 25-10-2009 by charlyv]



posted on Oct, 25 2009 @ 06:23 PM
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Originally posted by charlyv
reply to post by Angel One
 


You are confusing a magnetic field, with an electromagnetic field and electromagnetic radiation.


D'oh! Dat's a headslapper, I didn't realize the OP was confusing them.

Yes, that's right, magnetism does not equal electromagnetism, one's a force field, the other is a field effect.



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