Could Life Exist on Europa?
There are three main criteria for the possibility of life outside Earth
presence of water - yes
organic compounds - prevalent throughout the
adequate heat - ?
In recent years scientists have discovered a new class of micro-organisms here on
Earth that can live or, at least remain viable, under very extreme
volcanic vents deep in ocean trenches
ice more than 400,000 years old
Siberian permafrost more than 5 million years old.
These microbes called archaeabacteria constitute a third branch of life on Earth,
along with prokaryotes (normal bacteria) and eukaryotes (plants and animals).
Earth may have its own "Europa ocean." In 1996, seismic
and other tools revealed the the presence of an underground lake in Antarctica near the
Russian Vostok Station. Lake Vostok is overlaid by about 3,710 meters (12,169 ft) of ice
and may be 500,000 to 1 million years old.
Mickey Mouse, Klingon, porpoise, sphere, and leftover turkey are
nicknames given to microscopic objects
found in ancient Antarctic ice from as deep as 1,249 meters beneath Vostok Station.
The Problem: How to explore Europa / Lake
without contaminating them?
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