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November 16, 2011

Icy Europa Looking More Inviting

Scientists, using old images of Jupiter's radiation-blasted moon Europa, are now seeing evidence that Europa may have 'lakes' of liquid water that might be several km under a layer of ice that is 10 - 20 km thick. However, scientists recently announced that there could be pools of water that are as little as 3 km underneath the ice layer.

The process works like this: warm (but still solid) ice rises, driving the melting of the ice farther up to a few km below the surface. A briny slush of ice would then rise and disrupt Europa's chaotically ice-chunk jumbled surface. Further analysis and radar probing of these lakes would have to wait until scientists can get their hands on a several million dollar spacecraft.

Full story: http://news.sciencemag.org/sciencenow/2011/11/scienceshot-icy-europa-looking.html?ref=hp

Posted by carmrose at November 16, 2011 04:35 PM


Discoveries like this are becomeing more and more important. The world is now at 7 billion people, and we are projected to reach human capacity in the next 20 years. Its about time we colonized some planets

Posted by: derbach at November 18, 2011 01:18 PM

Yeah, I just posted an article about new strong evidence of "shallow lakes" in Europa. As time goes, scientists just come up with stronger evidence of water in Europa. This is fascinating.

Posted by: sangsong at November 21, 2011 08:53 AM

I wonder how much more expensive it is to send a probe to Europe in comparison to Mars, considering how likely Europa is to have water.

Posted by: jeyhun at November 30, 2011 10:01 PM

Its too bad that some of these missions are so cost prohibitive. While it doesn't look hopeful now (with the cuts to government spending) the technology to make these trips quicker and more affordable should be a priority. It would make it much easier to explore the possibilities of life on other worlds.

Posted by: mdolloff at November 30, 2011 10:46 PM

Its so interesting how with every passing year we keep finding more and more information which could lead to possible life on other planets. Hopefully in the near future we will be able to send a spacecraft to explore Europa's surface and the possibility of liquid water lakes beneath the surface. However, we may never know what lies beneath the surface during our lifetime.

Posted by: mwalkows at December 11, 2011 11:15 PM

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