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Oh Crap, It Looks Like Europa’s Surface Is Covered With Gigantic Shards of Ice Oh Crap, It Looks Like Europa’s Surface Is Covered With Gigantic Shards of Ice

Jupiter’s moon Europa, with its subsurface ocean, may have what it takes to foster alien life. A mission to this icy moon is on the wishlist of many astronomers, but new research suggests it won’t be easy to land spacecraft there: Its surface seems to be littered with icy spikes, the tallest of which measure five…

Life on Europa Could Be Just Beyond Our Reach Life on Europa Could Be Just Beyond Our Reach

Our Solar System has its own Hoth: Europa, the ice-covered Jovian moon where the existence of alien life hasn’t been ruled out. Unlike on Hoth, where life thrives on the icy surface, life on Europa would thrive in the ocean beneath its frigid surface—but of evidence for it might be just beyond the reach of our…

Spacecraft May Have Flown Right Through a Plume of Water on Jupiter's Moon Europa Spacecraft May Have Flown Right Through a Plume of Water on Jupiter's Moon Europa

Sometimes, scientists have the answers all along—they just don’t think to ask the question. For example, it appears that in 1997, the Galileo orbiter flew through a jet of water shooting out from Jupiter’s moon Europa without even trying.

Congressman Divulges Unreleased Study to Win Support for Life-Hunting Mission to Jupiter's Moon Europa Congressman Divulges Unreleased Study to Win Support for Life-Hunting Mission to Jupiter's Moon Europa

A mission that would sample plumes of gas shooting off of Jovian moon Europa appears to remain on track for a 2022 launch, after a meeting of the Commerce, Justice, and Science (CJS) subcommittee in which Republican Congressman John Culberson shared unreleased scientific results with his colleagues. The new paper…

New Evidence Points to Icy Plate Tectonics on Europa New Evidence Points to Icy Plate Tectonics on Europa

Jupiter’s moon Europa features a warm subterranean ocean covered in ice. For years, scientists have wondered if certain surface features are the result of plate tectonics, which, if true, would make Europa the only known place in the Solar System other than Earth to experience large, subduction-driven quakes. What’s…

Massive Lava Waves Detected on Jupiter’s Moon Io Massive Lava Waves Detected on Jupiter’s Moon Io

Io is the closest thing we have to hell in our Solar System, a Jovian moon that features hundreds of active volcanoes and expansive lakes filled with lava. New observations suggests that the largest of these lakes, Loki Patera, produces enormous waves that repeatedly flow around the molten surface.

An Alien Hunter on the Risks and Rewards of Landing on Europa An Alien Hunter on the Risks and Rewards of Landing on Europa

On Friday, February 10th, NASA announced that a team of 21 scientists had delivered their first report on a lander mission to explore the possibility of life on Jupiter’s icy moon Europa. The NASA-employed Science Definition Team (SDT) recommended that NASA send a probe as soon as 2031, about a decade after an…

NASA Plans to Drill Into Europa's Crust In Search of Life NASA Plans to Drill Into Europa's Crust In Search of Life

Since early 2016, a NASA-employed Science Definition Team (SDT) of 21 researchers has been crafting a plan to send a robotic probe to Europa, an icy moon of Jupiter, located over 390 million miles from Earth. On February 7th, that team delivered their first report to NASA, detailing their recommendations for that…

Another One of Saturn's Moons May Have a Global Ocean Another One of Saturn's Moons May Have a Global Ocean

The evidence is mounting that our solar system is rife with oceans. Last week, scientists reported that Pluto could have an insanely deep liquid water swimming pool beneath its surface, and on Monday, NASA revealed new evidence for geyser activity on icy Europa. Now, another frozen moon is poised to join the club of…

Hubble Discovers New Evidence of Water Geysers on Europa Hubble Discovers New Evidence of Water Geysers on Europa

Jupiter’s moon Europa is on the shortlist of places we might discover alien life in our solar system. And today, the prospects for finding extraterrestrial microbes on this little ice moon got a lot better, when NASA unveiled new evidence for water geysers near Europa’s south pole. The discovery strengthens the case…

Europa Is Even More Earth-Like Than We Suspected Europa Is Even More Earth-Like Than We Suspected

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.

Our Solar System Could Remain Habitable Long After Earth Is Destroyed Our Solar System Could Remain Habitable Long After Earth Is Destroyed

In a few billion years, the oceans will boil away and the atmosphere will burn up as our sun expands into a red giant. It’ll be game-over for life on Earth, but in the outer solar system, the party will just be getting started. Europa and Enceladus will melt into ocean moons, offering a refuge for any post humanoid…

Only one of These Images is a Moon, but Which one? Only one of These Images is a Moon, but Which one?

Europa takes a simple question and makes it a challenge: Which of these are frying pans, and which is Jupiter’s moon? Eight of these are of cookware, and one is of a planetary object. How can this be so tricky?!

Does Europa Have An Ocean? Does Europa Have An Ocean?

Europa’s fabled ocean has inspired science fiction movies and actual space missions alike — and yet we aren’t even sure it exists. NASA has gotten so curious, it recently greenlit a mission to Europa that’ll hopefully settle the matter once and for all. And the space agency has just produced an excellent video…

Deep Sea Electricity May Have Kickstarted Life On Our Planet  Deep Sea Electricity May Have Kickstarted Life On Our Planet 

Curious about how life got started on Earth 3.8 billion years ago? Here’s a thought: Why not recreate ancient hydrothermal vents in the lab, and see if they produce enough juice to power a lightbulb? That, at least, is what a bunch of scientists at the Jet Propulsion Lab decided to do—and the electrifying results are…

Let's Talk About NASA's Mission to Europa Let's Talk About NASA's Mission to Europa

The search for life in the Solar System is about the hunt for water. Wherever we find liquid water on Earth, we find life. I’m talking everywhere. In the most briny, salty pools in Antarctica, in the hottest hot springs in Yellowstone, under glaciers, and kilometers deep underground.

Jupiter and Venus (Plus Moons) Are Stunning At Their Conjunction Jupiter and Venus (Plus Moons) Are Stunning At Their Conjunction

In the last week, Venus and Jupiter were at their conjunction, and photographer Adam Tomaszewski took this fantastic picture of the pair. Look closely, and you can see Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto orbiting Jupiter.

This Ice Rover's Descendants Will Explore Europa's Ocean  This Ice Rover's Descendants Will Explore Europa's Ocean 

The allure of a warm, liquid ocean beneath Europa’s icy surface has inspired science fiction and real NASA missions alike. But if and when we get around to extraterrestrial oceanography, what will our undersea explorers look like?

NASA's Mission To Europa Moves One Step Closer To Reality

A mission to study Europa in detail has cleared its first major review, and will soon be in planning stages. If all goes well, we’ll be headed to the Jovian moon in the 2020s, where we’ll gain new insights into active planetary bodies.

NASA: We Are Going to Europa

Jupiter’s moon Europa is covered in a thick layer of constantly-shifting ice which appears to be floating atop a deep, warm ocean. Scientists have long suggested that it’s the most likely place that life might have evolved beyond Earth. And now, at last, NASA has confirmed our first mission to Europa has entered the…

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