Cerca QUI

Could Europa Be Home To Alien Life? White House Approves NASA's Mission To Find Out

Europa Clipper
The Europa Clipper could be on the way to a rendezvous
with a satellite which could be home to alien life.
What could the spacecraft find there? 
(Photo : Planetary Society / NASA / JPL-Caltech)
Europa is a satellite of Jupiter, holding vast oceans that dwarf those on our home planet, which could make this moon home to alien life. The American space agency NASA has recently announced the first-ever mission aimed at exploring this strange, distant world in detail for the first time.

President Obama has proposed a new federal budget, containing nearly four trillion dollars in spending, including $18.5 billion for NASA. This is roughly $500 million larger than last year's budget.
The Europa Clipper is scheduled for launch sometime in the middle of the 2020's. The vehicle will orbit Jupiter, studying the powerful magnetic fields which surround the giant planet. The robotic observatory will also pass by Europa 45 times, at altitudes between 16 and 1700 miles from the satellite, during its planned three-year mission.
"The mission would place a spacecraft in orbit around Jupiter in order to perform a detailed investigation of the giant planet's moon Europa - a world that shows strong evidence for an ocean of liquid water beneath its icy crust and which could host conditions favorable for life," Jet Propulsion Laboratory managers wrote on their Web site.
Europa is thought to hold oceans that could be as deep as 62 miles in some locations. Because gravity is lower on Europa than it is on Earth, conditions at these great depths could be similar to those in the deepest parts of the Earth's oceans, where strange life forms called extremophiles make their home. Put together, these oceans could hold up to four times as much water as is found on our home planet.
Radiation from Jupiter could be harmful to the Europa Clipper, and the computer processors will need to be housed in heavy shielding. However, this energy could be a boon to the chances for life on the frozen moon. Astronomers believe the most dangerous radiation could be absorbed by the upper surface of Europa, forming nutrients, which could then filter into the oceans, providing a base for an alien food chain.
"Looking to the future, we're planning a mission to explore Jupiter's fascinating moon Europa, selecting instruments this spring and moving toward the next phase of our work," Charles Bolden, NASA adminstrator, said.
Instruments that could be placed on board the observatory include radar, to record images beneath the moon's frozen surface, while a topographic camera could record high-resolution photographs of the satellite. An infrared spectrometer could be utilized to identify materials on the surface of the world, and the atmosphere might also be sampled, using a neutral mass spectrometer.
Europa was discovered by Galileo Galilei in 1610, using a primitive telescope. This body is approximately the size of our own Moon, placing it as the sixth-largest satellite in our solar system, and fourth-largest moon orbiting Jupiter.

Nessun commento:

Posta un commento

Salve! Ogni lettore è invitato a commentare qualsiasi post voglia, ed è un bene il confronto d'idee. Sono dunque io, Riccardo Perilli, ad invitare ognuno di voi, carissimi lettori, a commentare i post che scrivo o condivido. Le uniche due cose che chiedo di rispettare, per chiunque commenti, è che mi scriva poi, in fondo al proprio commento, un nome (non importa il cognome, mi raccomando!) al quale possa far riferimento per rispondergli (altrimenti appare "Commento in anonimo"); e che poi clicchi sulla spunta "inviami notifiche", in modo da poter restare sempre aggiornato sulle risposte che fornirò, e quelle che scriveranno gli altri lettori.
Ringrazio, nel frattempo, in attesa di vostri nuovi commenti, chi già ha commentato e chi commenterà.

Per contattarmi

Alcuni testi o immagini inseriti in questo blog sono tratti da internet e, pertanto, considerate di pubblico dominio; qualora la loro pubblicazione violasse eventuali diritti d'autore,
vogliate comunicarmelo via email. Saranno immediatamente rimossi. L'autore del blog non è responsabile dei siti collegati tramite link né del loro contenuto che può essere soggetto
a variazioni nel tempo.