Scientists observed long linear features that they determined could be created if the surface was disconnected from the moon’s interior — for example, with a liquid ocean sandwiched between them. But now new research shows that a future lander might only have to “scratch the surface” to access any organic molecules deposited from the ocean below, in areas where there is less radiation exposure. Scientists think their best bet is to equip the Europa Lander with a microscope for imaging water and ice samples. The presence of magnesium compounds on the surface of Europa suggests that water from the subsurface ocean reaches the surface through springs or vents. As Nordheim told Space.com: Even in the harshest radiation zones on Europa, you really don’t have to do more than scratch beneath the surface to find material that isn’t heavily modified or damaged by radiation. Studies of the surface ice show it is largely water ice with a smattering of related compounds like hydrogen peroxide, carbon dioxide, and sulfur dioxide. Europa’s icy crust contains a wealth of interesting topography that hints at the moon’s geologic past. Life on Europa Might be Easy to Find. Signal. Plus, get FREE SHIPPING & BONUS GIFT! Although no hard evidence yet exists, some scientists suspect that Europa’s tidal heating creates volcanoes and hydrothermal vents on the ocean floor, just as tectonic activity does on Earth. A magnetometer will measure the strength of the moon’s magnetic field to probe its interior. NASA. Europa, one of Jupiter's moons, is believed to have an ocean just beneath its frozen crust -- and some scientists think it may have just the right ingredients for life. Artist’s concept of a future lander on Europa. If this occurs these eruptions would deliver up ions and microbes from the ocean below. “But if we find that life did arise, that frankly makes the universe all the more special.”. Rave World. Could Life Survive on a Planet Orbiting a Black Hole? Europa as seen by NASA’s Galileo spacecraft. It will perform dozens of close flybys of the moon, studying both the surface and the ocean below. On Earth, microbes can live near deep-sea vents where warm, chemical-rich material bubbles up. Nordheim and his team used data from the old Galileo mission (1995-2003) and electron measurements from the even older Voyager 1 mission (Jupiter flyby in 1979). By studying the moon in detail, the mission will determine whether Europa has conditions suitable for life. The lack of large impact craters, which build up as meteorites strike a planetary body over millions or billions of years, meant that some process was erasing them. Jay Nadeau, a biophysicist at Portland State University, and her collaborators are testing autonomous microscopes robust enough to withstand an interplanetary journey. But how would we get at life below the surface? And now there is another potential solution – a new study, described in Space.com on July 23, 2018, shows that a lander on Europa (now in preliminary concept studies) might only have to dig a few inches/centimeters into the ice to search for evidence of active or past biology, such as amino acids. While in school he was known for his passion for space exploration and astronomy. Opinion: SpaceX’s Starlink satellites are about to ruin stargazing for everyone, Prospects for life on Venus dim in reanalysis of phosphine data, Sun-like star identified as the potential source of the Wow! We do not sell, rent or trade our email lists. On Earth, life flourishes in the warm water around undersea vents. System in 1979 ocean might be the best – and easiest – way to.. 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