NASA announced earlier today plans to monitor and research Jupiter’s Europa moon by the late 2020s, with a mission planned to launch in the early years of the decade.
It would be one of the first missions further than the Asteroid Belt that features monitoring equipment for detailed information on the moon. NASA intends to learn if Europa was or is capable of supporting life.
Europa has a large amount of water underneath the crust, according to several experts. This may have permitted life to grow on the moon, despite there being no signs of current life.
Earth is over three times the size of Europa, yet according to estimates Europa has more water on the planet. Learning where the water is stored could be useful information for scientists, who may be interested in building man-made water systems.
There is a sci-fi trope that has existed for decades, claiming that Europa is a place humanity should stay away from. Most comics and sci-fi novels do not specify why humans should not venture to Europa, hinting that the downfall of humanity awaits.
We doubt NASA’s mission will unearth some ice demon or a new type of race, although something in the vein of the White Walkers would be pretty rad—as long as they can’t use rockets to move onto Antarctica.
Jupiter has become the hot spot for theories about life inside the solar system, as Mars, Venus and Mercury start to become more defined as planets that definitely don’t have any active life, and probably never will.
The moons of Jupiter include Titan (a satellite), Ganymede, Callisto, Io and Europa. Most of them are still in the early stages of investigation, but only Io has been categorised as definitely not having water underneath the surface.
This brings a lot of hope and opportunity on Jupiter, but the travel speed is slow on current spacecraft and we are still a few decades away from sending people to these ice rock moons.