NASA has recently released it’s projected budget for 2015. In that budget there is money set aside to fund a mission to Europa. Europa is a moon of Jupiter. It is the sixth closest moon to jupiter and the sixth largest moon in the entire solar system.
Scientists have been interested in Europa for quite some time now. They have discovered that the entire planet is covered by an ice shell, but the strong gravitational pull of jupiter has created an enormous ocean under the ice shell which, scientists believe, is more than 62 miles deep and covers Europa’s whole surface. The ocean on top of Europa is more than 10 times deeper than Earth’s ocean and it holds more than twice the water found on Earth. This past December, the Hubble telescope found a huge geyser shooting liquid water 124 miles into the sky on Europa’s south pole. This has made the moon even more interesting to scientists.
The real reason scientists want to send robots to Europa is to see if there is life on the moon, or if there was ever life in the past. Scientists are very optimistic about the possibility of life on Europa. They say that since they believe that life started in the ocean on Earth, the same could be true for Europa. Finding life on Europa would be a huge breakthrough for the scientific community. If there is life on Europa, than that means there has to be life in the entire galaxy, which means that we are not alone in the universe. These missions to Europa have the potential to change the way we look at life here on earth, as well as in the rest of the universe. I am just as excited as the scientists are that I will be able to see something like this in my lifetime.