"There is danger from all men. The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with
power to endanger the public liberty." - - - - John Adams

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Alien life lurking beneath the surface of this water world?

Call Me a Crazy Blogger

  • If movies have taught me anything it is if we go looking for alien life we will regret ever finding it.

(Business Insider)  -  A new study released by NASA on Tuesday shows that oceans on Europa, one of Jupiter’s 67 known moons, might have a lot in common with our own oceans, including a chemical balance capable of harboring life.
Scientists have been eyeing the mysterious water world as one of the most promising places to find alien life for a while now, and this study suggests they're on the right track.
The moon, which is only a quarter the size of Earth, is covered in a thick shell of ice. But there is strong evidence that there could be a salty ocean deep beneath its surface.
View of Jupiter from Europa's frozen ocean

For the study, scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory compared Europa’s potential for producing hydrogen and oxygen with Earth’s using the same methods developed to study Earth’s oceans. This allowed them to estimate how much hydrogen could get released as seawater reacts with rock formations on the moon.
"The cycling of oxygen and hydrogen in Europa's ocean will be a major driver for Europa's ocean chemistry and any life there, just as it is on Earth," NASA planetary geophysicist and lead author Steve Vance said in a press release.
Thanks to its scant atmosphere, Europa is constantly bombarded by cosmic radiation which breaks up the chemical bonds of the ice within. Those reactions produce oxidants, a key ingredient for life. Since Europa's surface is being constantly renewed by icy tectonic activity, these oxidants get dissolved in the ocean, where they can react with the hydrogen and other chemicals produced.
As a result of these reactions, the team found, roughly ten times more oxygen exists on Europa than hydrogen. That's roughly the same ratio that rules Earth.
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NASA says it is confident about finding life on Europa in its next mission.
Pardon me if that does not make me feel safe.

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