Does Life Exist on Jupiter's Moon Europa?
Europa, a frozen moon around Jupiter, could be one of the most habitable worlds in the solar system besides Earth. It was first imaged in detail by the Voyager 1 probe in 1979, revealing a large surface almost devoid of craters- this suggests that water regularly floods up from inside.
It wasn’t until the late 1990’s that Europa really got interesting. The Galileo mission found evidence it had a subsurface liquid salt water ocean. The fact that it’s salty means it would be in contact with rock, which could provide enough energy to feed microbial life.
These two factors meet two of the critical requirements for life, which is a sustainable environment (the Ocean) and heat for energy.
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How Realistic is This?
As far-fetched as it may sound, some scientists believe that it’s not only possible but extremely likely that life exists and flourishes on this alien moon.
Life has an interesting way of adapting to harsh environments. For example, plants harness and convert light energy into usable energy via photosynthesis. Micro-organisms also live all over the Earth including in the bottom of the Ocean, but more on that later.
Micro-organisms were recently discovered hanging on outside the international space station. In this case the micro-organisms were not thriving and living great abundant lives, but they were able to enter a type of dormant state and then reactivate themselves when living conditions were more hospitable.
This discovery was quite revolutionary, and forces us to question whether life developed here or was sent here from somewhere else. There could be in theory asteroids filled with micro-organisms just waiting to land on a planet hospitable enough for them to start vibrating.
Actually, this theory isn’t so farfetched. We have some space probes that were launched that have now left the solar system and are unreachable. These space probes may have Earth microorganisms laying dormant, and they could re-activate if this space probe lands in a distant Ocean millions of years from now.
Based on what we know about Europa, its seafloor should greatly resemble the environments around Earth’s deep-ocean hydrothermal vents.
When first discovered in the 1970s, these oases in the deep sea were a complete surprise Dr. Bob Ballard calls them a far more important discovery than his finding of the wreck of the Titanic!
These creatures are able to survive in a super hot environment with no sunlight, and no easy source of nutrition yet they’re able to convert these vents into usable energy. Other creatures then can eat these creatures, thus creating a circle of life deep in the ocean where it was long believed that no creature could possibly survive.
It is indeed plausible that life could be carrying on similar to this in the moon, but we don’t know yet for certain.
Time will tell when we can finally develop a spacecraft that goes under the cold ice on the outside of this moon in order to discover what’s really going on.
For now, what do you think is going on under the moon of Europa?
Check out our current footage of Europa now by clicking HERE.
-Wildlife x Team International
P.S. If life exists on Europa, it’s likely that some of the creatures are dealing with pests trying to eat them or annoy them. They might have to “just deal with it,” but you shouldn’t. Contact us now at www.wildlifexteam.com or call us at 855-WILDLIFE if you have a pest or wildlife-related problem!