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December 12, 2011

NASA may send landers to Europa in 2020

NASA may send two landers to Europa in order to search for potential life. NASA researchers are currently developing concept missions that would send landers in 2020 that would land around 2026. Since there is a good chance that Europa has an ocean of water under it's surface, it is possible that there would be life there. Out of the three requirements for life, the most difficult to find is the liquid medium. If that is found on a planet, it almost certainly will contain an energy source and the raw ingredients necessary for life. Europa is considered to have the best chance to contain life in the solar system, besides earth. These lander missions would be significant because it would allow us to determine the composition of the surface and whether life exists or could have ever existed there.

To learn more about the potential mission visit: http://www.space.com/13883-nasa-jupiter-moon-europa-lander-mission.html

Posted by mrkapila at December 12, 2011 07:41 PM

Comments

Really cool. It'll be interesting to see if life really does exist that far in our solar system.

Posted by: duymo at December 12, 2011 09:07 PM

It would be very interesting to know the results! If Europa actually has ocean beneath its ice and enough internal heating, existence of micro life could be possible

Posted by: jungky at December 13, 2011 01:51 AM

It'll be interesting to see though how they come up with a lander that could get under Europa's icey surface to test for liquid water. It'll also be interesting to see where they choose to land on Europa and why.
I wonder, if they do find liquid water, what will the next steps be for finding life? I wonder if they'll decide to (or if they can) equip the landers to test both habitability and presence of life? The article makes it clear they're sending landers to see if life COULD have ever been supported on the planet, not to detect life itself. In other words, they just want to see if Europa has all the habitable conditions, including liquid water. I wonder if it'll take another mission to search for life.
Guess we'll find out in 15 years!

Posted by: vacr at December 13, 2011 04:35 PM

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