There may exist life under the frozen surface of Jupiter’s moon Europa, says the US space agency.
Fresh analysis of Hubble telescope data bolstered suspicions that under Europa’s icy shell there is a tidally-heated ocean of liquid water that could be capable of containing the building blocks of life.
“For the first time in the history of humanity, we have the tools and technology and capability to potentially answer this question (of the existence of life beyond Earth), and we know where to go to find it; Jupiter’s ocean world, Europa,” says NASA astrobiologist Kevin Hand.
NASA scientists initially thought that the Jovian moon was frozen solid, but vapor plumes originating from its surface were observed on telescope data.
NASA has requested public funding for the initiation of a mission to Europa.
Back in July, it called for proposals for science instruments that could be used on the long trip to help search for signs of life on the moon.
“The possibility of life on Europa is a motivating force for scientists and engineers around the world,” said NASA’s John Grunsfeld at the time.
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