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NASA to Send Robot to Look for 'Life' on Jovian Moon Europa

Mar 01, 2017 08:33 AM EST
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NASA is planning to send a robot over one of Jupiter's moons, Europa. However, this time, it's not for sight-seeing and assessing its atmosphere but to actually look for alien life.

NASA is planning to drill and analyze samples of the moon's surface via a lander. Drilling is also important as scientists' predict that Europa could be hiding underground oceans.

The mission will hopefully give scientists vital information regarding Europa's composition and determine if it can sustain life.

The 264-page report, available on NASA's website, is currently waiting on the response of the rest of the scientific community to help enhance its lander's design.

The design will have an intricate system of cameras that will take pictures of the surface. It will also have instruments that will be capable of analyzing samples in real time. Should technology permit, then it should be able to communicate the results in a fast amount of time.

According to Science Alert, the lander will feature a Separation-Mass Spectrometer system, which can determine what materials Europa is made of. The lander will also be able to locate "biosignaures" or signatures of life on Jupiter's moon.

Astronomer Jonathan Lunine told Gizmodo that the researchers hope to get the lander on the moon between 2024 to 2031.

This is not the first time NASA have explored the Jovian depths of the Solar System. There were a lot of instances that satellites have tried to analyze moons such as Europa and even Io on Saturn, the latter of which is known for its vast "oceans" and weather systems. This will be the first time, though, that something will actually land on the ground.

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