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New NASA Mission To Investigate Europa For Signs Of Life

16 Sep 2019, 14:01 UTC
New NASA Mission To Investigate Europa For Signs Of Life
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NASA’s Clipper mission to Jupiter’s second (of four) large moons, Europa, will perform at least 45 close flybys of its main target, monitoring its surface, subsurface ocean, and atmosphere for a series of signatures that could reveal information vital to assessing Europa as a location for potential habitability or biological activity within our own Solar System. (NASA/JPL-CALTECH)Is there life beyond Earth, even in our Solar System? This mission might be humanity’s best hope of finding it.The biggest question facing humanity might be, “Does life exists beyond Earth?”When a planet transits in front of its parent star, some of the light is not only blocked, but if an atmosphere is present, filters through it, creating absorption or emission lines that a sophisticated-enough observatory could detect. If there are organic molecules or large amounts of molecular oxygen, we might be able to find that, too. It’s important that we consider not only the signatures of life we know of, but of possible life that we don’t find here on Earth. (ESA / DAVID SING)Other solar systems might possess advanced or planet-altering biological activity, but simple life could exist right here.Scanning electron microscope image at the sub-cellular level. While DNA is an incredibly ...

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