Europa Is Even More Earth-Like Than We Suspected

May 17, 2016

By Ria Misra

Europa, Jupiter’s watery ice-moon, has long attracted attention as a possible site for someday finding life. Now, a new analysis shows that its oceans may be even closer to our own than we knew.

A study from researchers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory looks at the chemical composition of those lunar oceans in comparison to our own. Oxygen production in both Earth and Europan oceans exceeds hydrogen production by almost exactly 10 times. This similarity in the proportions already has researchers pointing out that it could mean oceans on Europa could play a similar role to Earth’s oceans in spawning life.

Continue reading by clicking the name of the source below.

9 comments on “Europa Is Even More Earth-Like Than We Suspected

  • The Catholic church is the biggest financial power, wealth accumulator and property owner in existence. She is a greater possessor of material riches than any other single institution, corporation, bank, giant trust, government or state of the whole globe.

    If all that money ( as suggested by this quote ) was spent on space travel/projects then we could go to Europa and see for ourselves if life is there.

    Report abuse

  • bonnie2 #3
    May 18, 2016 at 7:33 am

    @ your link – Excepting Europa (more on this later), there’s a lot to like in the proposed planetary budget. Following successive years of cuts early in the decade and a gradual series of increases to rebuild the program, the top number for the FY17 planetary program is proposed to be $1.52 billion. With the proposed cut to the Europa mission studies, this number is down by $110 million from this year’s FY16 budget.

    When I see politicians bickering over space research budgets, I am reminded of the other “priorities” to which they have allocated tax and borrowed money!

    The United States has already spent close to $2 trillion on the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. But those expenditures — on combat operations, reconstruction, and other direct costs of war — are only a fraction of what the wars will eventually cost the country, according to research by Linda Bilmes, Moynihan Senior Lecturer in Public Policy. The final figure, Bilmes calculates, will be $4 trillion.

    Bilmes focuses as well on the costs of borrowing money to pay for the wars. “The U.S. has already borrowed some $2 trillion to finance the Afghanistan and Iraq wars and the associated defense build-up — a major component of the $9 trillion U.S. debt accrued since 2001,” she writes. Any accounting of other macroeconomic costs associated with the wars, such as the impact of higher oil prices on aggregate demand, would easily bring the total to $6 trillion.

    Report abuse

  • However, some US Presidents and their yes-men stooges are to be noted for their fantasy finance perceptions!

    A little over 10 years ago, George W. Bush fired his economic adviser, Lawrence Lindsey, for saying that the total cost of invading Iraq might come to as much as $200 billion. Bush instead stood by such advisers as Paul Wolfowitz, who said that the invasion would be largely “self-financing” via Iraq’s oil, and Andrew Natsios, who told an incredulous Ted Koppel that the war’s total cost to the American taxpayer would be no more than $1.7 billion.

    As it turns out, Lawrence Lindsey’s estimate was indeed off — by a factor of 10 or more, on the low side. A new research paper by Linda Bilmes, of the Kennedy School at Harvard, begins this way:

    The Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts, taken together, will be the most expensive wars in US history — totaling somewhere between $4 to $6 trillion.

    As Bush is quoted as saying, “God told him to invade Iraq!” “faith-thinking by Bush and his yes-men, seems to be the cause of the wilful under-estimate, – and rejection of better advice and better advisors!

    Report abuse

  • @ #s 4 & 5

    Seems no getting around it, even at small levels – a certain mid-west city is currently mired in buffoonery, and it all comes down to money and egos. Step right up to watch a town stagger, admission free.

    Report abuse

  • @OP – Europa, Jupiter’s watery ice-moon, has long attracted attention as a possible site for someday finding life. Now, a new analysis shows that its oceans may be even closer to our own than we knew.

    The massive ice crust and low surface temperature, will maintain pressure to retain the water, while the friction from tidal drag generates enough heat to maintain a liquid state at depth.

    Light levels from the Sun this far out are however very low, so any life is likely to work on chemosynthesis.

    Report abuse

  • Patty #8
    May 22, 2016 at 12:04 pm

    I’m curious what happens to the climate of Europa when it passes behind Jupiter, blocking sunlight for that time.

    The sunlight is blocked for a short time each day, but at Jupiter’s orbit sunlight is very weak anyway.
    Europa is eclipsed between 2.5-2.88 hrs. Eclipses occur roughly every 85.27 hours.

    If Europa orbits Jupiter in 85.2 hrs then its “day” (sunrise to sunrise) is 85.27 hrs. And it is eclipsed once a “day”.
    I gave a range for the eclipse times because Europa’s orbit is inclined to the ecliptic. While the inclination is not enough for it to clear Jupiter’s shadow completely, it does mean that width of the shadow it does pass through does differ from eclipse to eclipse.

    Report abuse

Leave a Reply

View our comment policy.