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What's Surprising About Europa? NASA to Announce Discovery on Monday

Sep 22, 2016 04:44 AM EDT
Europa
NASA will hold a press conference on Monday to announce "surprising" evidence concerning Jupiter's moon, Europa. Were they able to find life on the Jovian moon?
(Photo : NASA/JPL/Processed by Kevin M. Gill/Wikimedia Commons)

Is there life on Jupiter's moon Europa? NASA just released a media advisory saying that their findings on the observation of Europa will be announced at a press conference on Monday, Sept. 26 at 2 p.m.

The interest in Jupiter's moon has long been the talk of the scientific community, next to Saturn's moon Titan. But all eyes are now on the giant gas planet's moon since NASA announced the press conference in a media advisory last Sept. 20.

"Astronomers will present results from a unique Europa observing campaign that resulted in surprising evidence of activity that may be related to the presence of a subsurface ocean on Europa," a NASA official wrote in an advisory.

During the press conference, astronomers are expected to present "surprising" findings of Europa, Jupiter's sixth closest moon. Europa is tagged as one of the most viable candidates in the hunt for life within the Solar System. And finally, the public may find out if it is true or not by next week.

Europa is located about 500 million miles away from the Sun, the center of the Solar System. Experts say that the if the presence of "oceans" underneath its surface is proven, it will make the moon all the more conducive to host alien life. NASA knows how to keep the anticipation high, as they posted the cryptic message saying that astronomers managed to find "surprising" evidence concerning Europa.

The press conference on Monday will be live via streaming. To aid the press conference, reports say that images taken by the Hubble Space Telescope will be presented. Rumors are circulating saying that Europa holds more liquid water compared to Earth, this prompted the speculations that NASA's "surprising" announcement is about the presence of life on Europa, according to Daily Mail.

Earlier this year, astronomers and experts from NASA's Jet Propulsion laboratory revealed that Jupiter's moon Europa has more Earth-like properties like vast oceans underneath its icy surface than previously thought. The study also delved into Europa's capability to produce oxygen and hydrogen, vital for life to thrive.

"We're studying an alien ocean using methods developed to understand the movement of energy and nutrients in Earth's own systems. 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," Steve Vance, a planetary scientist at JPL and lead author of the study said in a statement.

For now, the public can only speculate, but whatever the surprising evidence is, it has a large chance of leading scientists to finding life on Europa if life hasn't been discovered on the Jovian moon yet.

 

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