NASA announces microbial life exists on one of Jupiter’s moons
It’s called Europa, and from now on it will become even more attractive to astronomers. The great discovery is that there, as on Earth, there are oceans with volcanic activity and microbial life.
The US and the former USSR turned astronomy into a synonym for space conquest and what was science became one of the trenches of the so-called Cold War – if such trenches were present in politics, diplomacy, in battles with tanks and rifles, guerrillas, espionage, and even in fashion and chess competitions, it is clear that they would also be noticed in one of the most remote human habits: that of looking at the skies and asking if there is life outside Earth. To try to answer this question with methodological rigor, astronomy had, however, to return to its scientific level. It returned and, currently, one of its maximum expressions is NASA’s Juno probe, which has been orbiting the planet Jupiter since 2016. Last week, Juno achieved the unimaginable: it passed just three hundred and fifty-two kilometers from Europa,
“Among its eighty moons, Jupiter has four main ones. They hold a relevant role for scientific knowledge and the evolution of humanity” Roberto Costa, professor of astronomy at USP
Flying at forty-eight thousand kilometers per hour, Juna recorded four images of Europa. Only four? Yup. And is that a big deal? Once again, yes. “The photos are stunning,” exulted scientist Candice J. Hansen-Koharcheck of the Planetary Science Institute in Tucson, Arizona. From the images, as USP astronomy professor Roberto Costa explains, what was hypothesized is confirmed: there are oceans of ice surrounding Europa, with a depth of up to twenty kilometers. If one day man manages to overcome this now insurmountable obstacle, then he will see what the probe’s sensors, an example of the most advanced technological tool in this area, have just seen: under the ice there is water in a liquid state and with volcanic activity, in Earth-like phenomena.
One can again resort to a question: what is the importance? Where there is water there can be life, that’s a rule. There is, therefore, microbial life in the approximately three thousand and one hundred kilometers in diameter of the moon Europa, Jupiter’s main natural satellite. The recent images will also help astronomers who are already working on another NASA mission, scheduled to launch two years from now and which will fly over Europa – “an ice capsule with oceans much deeper than Earth’s”, by the astronomer’s definition. Coast.