Is Life Present?
What Might Life Look Like?
MPEG video of the Oxygen Production:
Europa was first discovered by Galileo
Galilei in 1610. He discovered it along with Io, Callisto, and Ganymede
using the aide of a telescope. Simon Marius discovered them independently
in 1610 as well, but his claims could not be verified. Galileo published
his findings right away so he gets most of the credit. Marius did give
them their current names, however.
In Greek mythology, Europa was a
Phoenician princess Zeus(Jupiter) lured away by posing as a beautiful white
bull. He carryed her accross the sea and she bore him King Minos of Crete.
The other Galilean moons Io, Callisto, and Ganymede, also have their names
from mythological figures who had close encounters with Zeus. Europa, Io,
and Callisto were mistresses of Zeus. Ganymede was a king's son that Zeus
carried to heaven.
Pioneer 10 -- 1973 did a
flyby of the Jovian System. These were the best photographs it took of
Voyager 1 -- 1979 did a flyby
of most of the outer planets. Voyager 1 and 2 only took detailed photographs
of small portions of Europa and they were in high sun so it was difficult
to see relief.
Voyager 2 -- 1979 did a flyby
of most of the outer planets
Hubble Space Telescope -- 1995, ongoing photographs being taken. Hubble will be able to take photographs regularly to try to follow the changes in the surface features and processes that go on.
Galileo Mission -- 1996
Science Objectives (from JPL page )
Europa was poorly imaged by Voyager so the plan includes a mix of high resolution and low resolution observations to provide context.
Europa Ice Clipper Proposed Mission ( Astrobiology Website ) -- The overall science goal for the Europa Ice Clipper is to sample the surface of Europa to understand the processes that shape it and to look for evidence of a subsurface ocean. In addition it will address questions as to the formation of Europa and the source of water for the Galilean satillites.
Volcanism and Geothermal Tides
Comparision to Volcanic Eruption Under Vatnajokull glacier in Iceland
The image on the left shows ice rafts on Europa. The image on the right shows the same thing on the ice cap in Iceland.
Conditions needed to produce life:
Examples of extremophiles on Earth