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Discovery Increases Odds of Life On Europa

Soulskill posted about a year and a half ago | from the new-life-and-new-civilizations dept.

Space 164

tetrahedrassface writes "Observations of spectral emissions from the surface of Europa using state of the art ground based telescopes here on Earth have lent data that indicate the surface of the Jovian moon is linked with the vast ocean below. The observations carried out by Caltech's Mike Brown and JPL's Kevin Hand show that water is making it from the ocean below all the way up to the surface of the moon. In their study (PDF) they noticed a dip in the emission bands around lower latitudes of the moon, and quickly honed in on what they were seeing. The mineral of interest is epsomite, a magnesium sulfate compound that can only come from the ocean below. From the article: 'Magnesium should not be on the surface of Europa unless it's coming from the ocean,' Brown says. 'So that means ocean water gets onto the surface, and stuff on the surface presumably gets into the ocean water.' Not only does this mean the ocean and surface are dynamically interacting, but it also means that there may be more energy in the ocean than previously thought. Another finding is that the ocean below the icy surface of Europa is basically very similar to an ocean on Earth, giving the neglected and premier solar body for life past Earth another compelling reason for being explored."

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Hmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43086907)

Hydrothermal vents, maybe?

Re:Hmm (2)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about a year and a half ago | (#43086979)

Or maybe just cracks in the ice caused by tidal changes. Then water down below would sublimate. rise to the surface. and freeze. Maybe the vapour would carry some metals with it. Magnesium is a good construction material BTW.

Re:Hmm (2)

Mystakaphoros (2664209) | about a year and a half ago | (#43087309)

Tidal forces seem like a good culprit, considering the extreme gravitational forces involved.

Re:Hmm (2)

icebike (68054) | about a year and a half ago | (#43087885)

Tidal forces seem like a good culprit, considering the extreme gravitational forces involved.

Which is interesting because enough gravitational heating of the moon's core to keep an ocean liquid suggests the possibility of life even in the absence of sunlight, just as is found in some deep oceans on earth. I suppose its possible for there to be enough infrared near thermal vents, but by and large, you would expect any putative life to have evolved completely without any form of photoreceptors, let alone eyes.

Some clever minds are probably already at work conceptualizing payload packages to investigate these cracks for an under-ice rover.

Re:Hmm (2)

m0n0RAIL (920043) | about a year and a half ago | (#43088307)

An under-ice rover isn't likely in the near future, as estimates of the ice thickness range from 30km to at least a few kilometers.

This is bad news (2)

VernonNemitz (581327) | about a year and a half ago | (#43089255)

Please recall this article about "panspermia" [journalofcosmology.com] . It means that we are practically certain to find Earth-originated life-forms down there in the ocean of Europa. If life originated there independently of Earth, there might not be any evidence of it left!

Misread the title (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43086917)

At first glance I read the title as "Discovery Increases Odds of Life In Europe".

Re:Misread the title (3, Funny)

Penguinisto (415985) | about a year and a half ago | (#43086991)

Sadly, so did I, thinking that they finally left Leeds and discovered the existence of Amsterdam.

Re:Misread the title (3, Funny)

rubycodez (864176) | about a year and a half ago | (#43087019)

I was more disturbed by the mention of "lent data" from ground based telescopes, which sounds like certain kinds of data collection were given up until Easter.

Re:Misread the title (1)

Ol Biscuitbarrel (1859702) | about a year and a half ago | (#43087139)

If you Discover life somewhere aren't the odds pretty much infinite?

Re:Misread the title (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43088593)

1 != infinity

Re:Misread the title (1)

darkHanzz (2579493) | about a year and a half ago | (#43089629)

no, they are 1.

Re:Misread the title (1)

PPH (736903) | about a year and a half ago | (#43087951)

So, there's life. But Europa's economy is shot to hell.

language issues? (1)

hb253 (764272) | about a year and a half ago | (#43086945)

"lent data"???

"honed in"????

Re:language issues? (2)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | about a year and a half ago | (#43087259)

"lent data"??? "honed in"????

Not sure what's up with "lent data". (Typo of "sent data"? Odd translation of an idiom from a non-English language?)

I've heard the "honed in" misusage a lot. It seems to be a Mondegreen> from "homed in" (like a homing pigeon.) [wikipedia.org]

Re:language issues? (1)

Ol Biscuitbarrel (1859702) | about a year and a half ago | (#43087389)

The Europans are fasting and observing penitence.

Re:language issues? (5, Funny)

icebike (68054) | about a year and a half ago | (#43087981)

"lent data"??? "honed in"????

Not sure what's up with "lent data". (Typo of "sent data"? Odd translation of an idiom from a non-English language?)

I've heard the "honed in" misusage a lot. It seems to be a Mondegreen> from "homed in" (like a homing pigeon.) [wikipedia.org]

Lent is the past tense of lend. Data from one discovery was lent to a totally different theory.
Honed in is fairly common usage when working toward a goal.

The so called "translation" is from a language called English, with which it appears you are only tangentially acquainted.

Re:language issues? (1)

Cimexus (1355033) | about a year and a half ago | (#43088727)

"Honed in" may be in common usage but that doesn't make it correct.

One can hone a blade. In the same sense, one can hone their skills (in the sense of sharpening or improving them). However one cannot 'hone in' on something. It's a mishearing of "home in" (to zero in on/zoom in on/narrow a wider field down to) - a common one to be sure, but mistaken nonetheless.

Nothing wrong with 'lent' though, as you say.

Re:language issues? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43089145)

The so called "translation" is from a language called English, with which it appears you are only tangentially acquainted.

For most of us English is the odd secondary language in which API documentations are written. A bit like Latin in middle ages.

Re:language issues? (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about a year and a half ago | (#43090073)

"giving the neglected and premier solar body for life past Earth another compelling reason for being explored" was rather tortutous to parse as well.

Europa was discovered in 1610 by Galileo... (3, Informative)

Press2ToContinue (2424598) | about a year and a half ago | (#43086947)

and a series of flybys began in the 1970s. Pioneer 10 and 11 visited Jupiter in 1973 and 1974 respectively.

Two Voyager probes traveled through the Jovian system in 1979 providing more detailed images of Europa's icy surface. The images caused many scientists to speculate about the possibility of a liquid ocean underneath.

Starting in 1995, the Galileo probe began a Jupiter orbiting mission that lasted for eight years, until 2003, and provided the most detailed examination of the Galilean moons to date. It included, Galileo Europa Mission and Galileo Millennium Mission, with numerous close flybys of Europa.

Neglected indeed.
Not.

(Paraphrased from Wikipedia)

Re:Europa was discovered in 1610 by Galileo... (2)

war4peace (1628283) | about a year and a half ago | (#43087013)

Depends what you compare with. Justin Bieber certainly gets more attention... an unfortunate thing, really.

Agreed. (4, Funny)

Press2ToContinue (2424598) | about a year and a half ago | (#43087081)

Almost certain he gets more probing as well.

Re:Europa was discovered in 1610 by Galileo... (3, Insightful)

tetrahedrassface (675645) | about a year and a half ago | (#43087113)

It's very neglected compared to what we've sent to Mars isn't it? Now we are floating *another* rover while the data for Europa continues to build up to the point that we really should go there in a two part mission. One would be a dedicated orbiter, and then a landing...

Re:Europa was discovered in 1610 by Galileo... (4, Interesting)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about a year and a half ago | (#43087215)

The problem is that a Eurpoa rover would need to be powered by an RTG, which means you have to send a vehicle about the size of curiosity. So thats 1000kg that you have to land. Maybe the descent stage would be another 1000kg to get you from low orbit to the surface. Then that 2 tonne package has to be powered into the gravitational fields of Jupiter and Eurpoa. You are talking about a lot of fuel. Galileo just barely went into an elliptical orbit. In energy terms that is a long way from a landing. My rough guess is that the total mass of the vehicle would be 10 tonnes in low earth orbit. Maybe more.

Maybe it could only be done with a proper fission reactor and ion drives.

Re:Europa was discovered in 1610 by Galileo... (2)

tetrahedrassface (675645) | about a year and a half ago | (#43087307)

Right, well the Planetary Society has proposed the JEO, Jupiter Europa Orbiter. That would be a great start to actually close enough to really see what's going on. Then we don't need or even have to land a super heavy rover on Europa. If we took data from the JEO and were smart about it, we could land a few very small probes to sample the surface of the ice where the upwellings occur.

We have the capability to go there today, if we really wanted to. I guess it's just not politically expedient to go there, since Mars captures the interest of the population so well..... and that's a disappointing, because Europa or one of it's sister moons has water today.

I hope I live long enough to see a landing.

Re:Europa was discovered in 1610 by Galileo... (2)

smellotron (1039250) | about a year and a half ago | (#43088913)

We have the capability to go there today, if we really wanted to.

I can't think about exploring Europa without getting that tingly sensation that I am being watched [wikipedia.org] :

ALL THESE WORLDS
ARE YOURS EXCEPT
. . EUROPA
. ATTEMPT NO
.LANDING THERE

Re:Europa was discovered in 1610 by Galileo... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43087561)

You are overrating the difficulty. You can aerobrake with Jupiter to get you into a descent path for the moon using almost no fuel. If you ever wanted to leave the vicinity of Jupiter, you'd be kind of fucked (considering the 'ginormous' gravitational well), but it isn't especially hard getting there. And as far as an RTG, that is something we are going to have to get used to if we seriously want to start exploring the outer planets. That or nuclear reactors. And if we are serious about finding life on Europa, we aren't talking about a few ton probe--we are talking hundreds of tons so that we can drill or melt through the miles of ice to sample the ocean.

Re:Europa was discovered in 1610 by Galileo... (4, Insightful)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about a year and a half ago | (#43087823)

You can aerobrake with Jupiter to get you into a descent path for the moon using almost no fuel

You are understating the difficulty. Aerobraking will leave you in a highly elliptical orbit with a significant velocity difference to Eurpoa where it crosses the orbit of Europa. It might be possible to circularise that orbit with slingshots among the moons, but that would take years. Also there is a significant hazard from meteors going so close to Jupiter, and an extreme radiation hazard.

Re:Europa was discovered in 1610 by Galileo... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43088215)

Does Galileo and its aerobraking maneuvers around Jupiter mean anything to you? How about Cassini around Saturn (which has fucking rings!)?

You can aerobrake on a gas giant, and it has been done repeatedly. And by doing this you can get your trajectory set up that you don't use an insane amount of propellant (for example, you encounter the moon at the end of your ellipse and let its gravity pull you in, at which point you expend propellant and land).

Re:Europa was discovered in 1610 by Galileo... (1)

Gavagai80 (1275204) | about a year and a half ago | (#43088625)

Nobody has been able to drill 15km into Earth yet, so the technology to get that far into Europa is unfortunately far off.

Re:Europa was discovered in 1610 by Galileo... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43088831)

Yeah, but Europa is special. You aren't drilling through rock. Realistically, you could attach a nuclear reactor to melt through (like a hot rock in a block of ice) and have it bale out a transmitting wire from a spool as it descends. This shouldn't be beyond our technology today.

alternative uses for an RTG (2)

j1m+5n0w (749199) | about a year and a half ago | (#43089551)

Given that this thread mentioned using an RTG (a Radioisotope Thermal Generator, which is just an electrical generator that operates off of waste heat produced by a radioactive material decaying), it seems like the solution here is pretty obvious, even if it might be a painfully slow.

Re:Europa was discovered in 1610 by Galileo... (3)

icebike (68054) | about a year and a half ago | (#43088059)

The problem is that a Eurpoa rover would need to be powered by an RTG, which means you have to send a vehicle about the size of curiosity. So thats 1000kg that you have to land.

Meh! Details....

The day before Curiosity landed the general opinion here among the Slashdot Rocket Scientists that it had ZERO chance for success. Too complicated. Too Rube Goldberg. Parachutes, Rockets, and Skycranes! Such foolishness. Stupid arrogant NASA/JPL about to get their comeuppance.

Well...

Re:Europa was discovered in 1610 by Galileo... (2)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about a year and a half ago | (#43088217)

Yeah but in energy terms a landing on Europa is much harder because there is no atmosphere.

Re:Europa was discovered in 1610 by Galileo... (1)

icebike (68054) | about a year and a half ago | (#43088403)

Bring more with you sir. You will need it.

Re:Europa was discovered in 1610 by Galileo... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43089077)

Mein Fuhrer, I can walk!

Here is what you need to do: send a separate flyby probe with nuclear weapons. Drop and detonate the nuclear weapons on the surface so that lots of gas is shot into space. Deploy a massive parachute and use this gas to slow down (the nuclear bombs will be clustered so that there isn't too much pressure and temperature to shred the parachute at any given point). Then use rockets near the surface.

Re:Europa was discovered in 1610 by Galileo... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43089205)

Also: Nuclear weapons create a nice hole to the 30 km thick ice!

(We come in peace, shoot to kill, shoot to kill...)

Re:Europa was discovered in 1610 by Galileo... (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | about a year and a half ago | (#43088279)

Heh. What I like about the MSL pessimism is that most people didn't realize that literally the only new parts of the landing procedure were the sky crane at the end, and aerodynamic flight before parachute deploy.

It's like they think Spirit and Opportunity were just dropping onto Mars from orbit and some measely air bags absorbed all that energy.

But that's how Mission to Mars showed it, so I guess that's legit!

Re:Europa was discovered in 1610 by Galileo... (1)

Zeussy (868062) | about a year and a half ago | (#43089059)

The Aerodynamic flight wasn't all that new. That was based on what the Apollo command module did on reentry. The sky crane engines were based off the ones that landed the Viking landers.

Re:Europa was discovered in 1610 by Galileo... (1)

camperdave (969942) | about a year and a half ago | (#43089763)

Spirit and Opportunity were dropped from their "sky cranes" (yes, they had them too, but they weren't called sky cranes at the time) from several storeys up, and had to endure double digit G-forces as they bounced and rolled across the Martian surface. Spirit bounced 28 times and rolled nearly half a kilometer from its initial impact point before coming to a rest. Yes. If anything, Curiosity had it easy. It was placed ever so gently on the surface.

Re:Europa was discovered in 1610 by Galileo... (1)

kwerle (39371) | about a year and a half ago | (#43088093)

Except that Europa has slightly less gravity than our moon - more than 1/3 of mars. So I have to imagine it has no atmosphere to speak of. I would imagine that would make a Europa landing much more like a moon landing than the Mars landing. Of course Jupiter's gravity well is something to contend with - but at least you don't have to land there - just in the neighborhood. All in all, I imagine that a Europa landing would be easier than a Mars landing (assuming the surface is friendly, etc).

Re:Europa was discovered in 1610 by Galileo... (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about a year and a half ago | (#43088241)

No atmosphere so no parachutes. Its a powered descent, unless you want to try lithobraking. In the future that may be an option. Consider landing a sled on smooth ice at 2 km/s.

Re:Europa was discovered in 1610 by Galileo... (1)

Zeussy (868062) | about a year and a half ago | (#43089099)

I can remember reading an article about how landing on mars was a bitch compared to the moon or earth. Earth has a descent amount of atmosphere, so you can rely on aero braking then parachute. On the moon you have no atmosphere so you can fire rocket engines in the direction your flying, and do a powered descent.

Mars has the problem of so little atmosphere that aero braking barely slows you down to a speed where you can open a parachute and not have it ripped apart as you are still travelling at supersonic speeds. And the atmosphere is just thick enough to upset rocket engines firing into the oncoming stream/airflow so you can't do a powered descent.

Re:Europa was discovered in 1610 by Galileo... (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | about a year and a half ago | (#43088213)

The Falcon Heavy is rated for 53 metric tons LEO. Would that be enough?

Re:Europa was discovered in 1610 by Galileo... (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about a year and a half ago | (#43088253)

Maybe.

Re:Europa was discovered in 1610 by Galileo... (3, Interesting)

mooingyak (720677) | about a year and a half ago | (#43088377)

So thats 1000kg...

Nobody ever says Megagram, or Megameter either for that matter. I for one would like to see that become commonplace.

Re:Europa was discovered in 1610 by Galileo... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43088919)

So thats 1000kg...

Nobody ever says Megagram, or Megameter either for that matter. I for one would like to see that become commonplace.

I wouldn't count on that happening in the next couple of gigaseconds.

Re:Europa was discovered in 1610 by Galileo... (1)

PedroV100 (1497409) | about a year and a half ago | (#43088927)

rtg?... here--> http://lmgtfy.com/?q=rtg [lmgtfy.com]

Re:Europa was discovered in 1610 by Galileo... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43089797)

Except Europa is many times further away, in addition to the challenges of navigating through the asteroid belt. Landing there might also not be as easy, and we know way less about Europa (so little that what we don't know might have significant impact on the design). Also, a rover like that would need to be even more autonomous than Curiousity, which is a serious hurdle, especially when carrying tons of expensive research equipment.

Europe/Europa (1)

turkeydance (1266624) | about a year and a half ago | (#43086955)

it's all the same to us. USA rocks!

Re:Europe/Europa (0)

gmuslera (3436) | about a year and a half ago | (#43087805)

Yes, the main difference is that the odds of intelligent life in USA are pretty low.

Re:Europe/Europa (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43088643)

and yet, it is more likely than anywhere else on this rock.

The statement is constructed that way for a verbal dramatic effect.

And after another disappointment (4, Insightful)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | about a year and a half ago | (#43086971)

It doesn't matter how well you do in your endeavours if we continuously push 'Chance of life' as a way to get the general public interested. How many times do you think the public can hear about 'Nope, nothing there' when the original headline was 'Amazing new possible discovery that will rock the foundations of the space program". Don't get me wrong, I find the concept of alien geology to be very interesting and love these stories, but please cut back on the 'hints/signs/rumor/promise of life' in headlines.

Before anyone responds with "But we have to make it interesting for the unwashed masses...", I'm going to preempt that with the fact that you don't want space exploration to be relegated to the same 'Overhype/Overpromise' location in the collective consciousness currently reserved for late night infomercials and miracle health products.

Re:And after another disappointment (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43087141)

The unwashed masses apparently have unlimited patience with the repetitive same-old-shit that comes on TV, I don't think they will lose interest in space for the same marketing techniques when it comes to space. They're fucking morons for goodness sake.

Re:And after another disappointment (1)

Grayhand (2610049) | about a year and a half ago | (#43087371)

Why the assumption there is no life? There are strong signs on Mars that date bad to the Viking missions. Odds are any current life is subterranian but the conditions for life definitely existed in the early days of Mars. Europa has possible conditions now so long as there's an energy source it seems to have liquid water. Several other moons also have the potential so don't write off life so quick. Why is this important? If it happened twice in this same system then the odds of life outside of this system go through the roof and I'd hazard to say they are a 100%. It proves if life can happen it will happen so intelligent life also gets a massive boast. Maybe SETI would get real funding and a starship proposal would get taken seriously. A second source of life changes everything so the potential can't be overstated.

Re:And after another disappointment (1)

illestov (945762) | about a year and a half ago | (#43087599)

i don't see any false advertisement in this article though, the chances of life on Europa went from most likely not to probably most likely not.

--
its life Jim but not as we know it.

Re:And after another disappointment (2)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about a year and a half ago | (#43088013)

But wait! There's more! We'll throw in this miniature monolith absolutely free to the first 3,000 customers!

Too far away (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43086973)

Europa is too far away. We should just send it on a crash course for mars. By the time it gets there we will have found a way to thicken up the atmosphere a bit so the water doesn't evaporate right away.

Re:Too far away (1)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | about a year and a half ago | (#43087023)

I'd be willing to bet that the addition of mass roughly the size of Europa might also be the solution to that problem as well.

Re:Too far away (2)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | about a year and a half ago | (#43087321)

Europa is too far away. We should just send it on a crash course for mars. By the time it gets there we will have found a way to thicken up the atmosphere a bit so the water doesn't evaporate right away.

Do you plan to do the pushing?

No kidding on "by the time it gets there". It will take a LOT of pushing to get it up out of Jupiter's orbit and then downhill to an impact orbit with Mars.

After that Mars will be too hot for life for a long time.

Meanwhile, if there is life on Europa OR Mars, you've just created an extinction (event or two) of total-biosphere magnitude. Here's hoping nobody does that to Earth.

Re:Too far away (1)

gmuslera (3436) | about a year and a half ago | (#43087871)

Streetlight effect [wikipedia.org] anyone? Leaving it for later don't mean that then we will be able to do it, we could be in the same situation as today or worse.

Seems unlikely (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43086997)

Discovery Increases Odds of Life On Europa? I would have thought that pieces of Discovery [wikipedia.org] raining on Europa would *decrease* the odds of life. Especially if one lands right on some poor alien critter's head.

Funny to think that that happened only three years ago.

look nasa, the sequester is a done deal (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43087009)

Barry never liked you anyway. Somebody has to cover those 7$ Apple options Gore picked up.

We've been warned about this... (1)

narcc (412956) | about a year and a half ago | (#43087217)

"All these worlds are yours, except Europa. Attempt no landings there." -- A. C. Clarke

Lithobraking (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about a year and a half ago | (#43087291)

It just occured to be that some parts of Europa are so flat that a vehicle in the form of a sled may be able to slide to a stop from orbital velocity.

Re:We've been warned about this... (2)

gmhowell (26755) | about a year and a half ago | (#43087975)

Came for the 2001 reference. Left satisfied (Eventually. I mean, WTF, mentioning both 'Discovery' and 'Europa' in the title, and a 2001 reference wasn't the frost piss?)

Re:We've been warned about this... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43088033)

You are nine years off.

Re:We've been warned about this... (1)

narcc (412956) | about a year and a half ago | (#43088637)

I know! I posted this as the obvious 2010 references were conspicuously absent.

(I should have waited as all it did was earn me a "redundant" mod! I suppose I could have replied out-of-context to the first post to push my comment closer to the top of the page -- that seems to be a popular strategy.)

Oh, Slashdot!

Re:We've been warned about this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43088795)

Europa... life... frost piss... nicely done.

A simple solution (4, Insightful)

Grayhand (2610049) | about a year and a half ago | (#43087283)

Just spread the rumor that Europan whales make the best sushi in the Universe and the Japanese will launch a mission to Europa within the year. As an added bonus Iceland would start a space program.

Re:A simple solution (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year and a half ago | (#43087559)

Liquid oxygen and kerosene is a reasonably common propellant, I wonder if anybody has worked out the piping challenges of getting your(totally steampunk) liquid oxygen and whale oil rocket off the ground?

Re:A simple solution (2)

Spinalcold (955025) | about a year and a half ago | (#43088645)

that or Spock and Kirk will come back in time to save them.

but what if they do? (1)

kawabago (551139) | about a year and a half ago | (#43088779)

And you've sentenced them to extinction by sushi?

Re:but what if they do? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43090049)

And you've sentenced them to extinction by sushi?

When they're approaching they'll get a message reading:

ALL THESE WORLDS
ARE YOURS EXCEPT
EUROPA
ATTEMPT NO
LANDING THERE
THEY ARE NOT FOR SUSHI

Re:A simple solution (1)

Coward Anonymous (110649) | about a year and a half ago | (#43090077)

Where do I contribute to Japan's space program? Sign me up!

We were warned (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43087323)

All these worlds
Are yours except
Europa
Attempt no
Landing there

Re:We were warned (1)

Sir or Madman (2818071) | about a year and a half ago | (#43087401)

Humans have always been jerks who ignore signs. Sometimes we need a good whupping to make us think.

Europa, here we come. Yeeha!

Re:We were warned (2)

Nidi62 (1525137) | about a year and a half ago | (#43087621)

Burma Shave

Re:We were warned (1)

e065c8515d206cb0e190 (1785896) | about a year and a half ago | (#43087733)

I was totally going to post that.

Re:We were warned (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43087993)

I know, no matter how many times Europa makes it to the news, there's always some unoriginal cretin that feels obliged to repeat the very same inanity yet again. And he/she get modded up to by like-minded morons no doubt.
Meanwhile more intelligent, factual posts languish.
Guys, it is not funny after the 2nd time, let alone the 100th!

What did they find? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43087459)

A 3D printer? A private space program? A condo? What?

It's things like this... (3, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year and a half ago | (#43087513)

It's things like Europa and robots on Mars that make me want to punch the 'Cry, cry, we need to put a man back on the moon, because something!' crowd.

Was the Apollo program a heroic piece of engineering? No question. But does the moon have any major virtues aside from being close enough to man-in-a-can with relatively primitive life support gear? It's a hostile, sterile rock with not a whisper of atmosphere(and conveniently close and well-lit for the telescope crew). We have basically no reason to suspect that it has, or ever had, anything approaching life. Mars is a practically shirtsleeves environment by comparison, and Europa is under serious suspicion of having some serious organic chemistry going down under the ice. What sort of grainy, sepia-toned nostalgia wankfest would have us putzing around the moon, again, when there is other cool stuff to poke at?

Re:It's things like this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43087753)

The moon while realitively pointless exploration wise does offer a close and excellent hostile environment to test equipment and technology that costs billions and long periods of travel time to send all the way to mars/jupiter. So it isn't a complete waste.

Re:It's things like this... (1)

Kozar_The_Malignant (738483) | about a year and a half ago | (#43088385)

Short term, I agree completely. In the longer term, it may make sense to mine and refine minerals into construction materials for space vehicles on the moon. The smaller gravity well and lack of atmosphere may make it much cheaper to get construction materials into space from the moon rather than from Earth. Railgun launch into lunar orbit is an old idea.

Re:It's things like this... (1)

Jeremi (14640) | about a year and a half ago | (#43089047)

Well, if nothing else, the moon would make a good location for a moon base. ;) If there was a practical way to mine rocket fuel on the moon, I think that could be a good refuelling/re-launching point for rockets bound for other parts of the solar system.

Also, I understand that the far side of the moon would be a good location for telescopes that want to minimize EM pollution from Earth.

Re:It's things like this... (1)

drunk_punk (2841507) | about a year and a half ago | (#43089111)

We don't need a man on the moon. We need Mankind on the moon. Specifically to mine HE3 and to be used as a launch site. I think that would be pretty cool.

All while NASA has become Mars obsessed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43087525)

See here :
http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=has-nasa-become-mars-obsessed

$ 5B for Mars alone lately (Curiosity, MAVEN, Insight, Curiosity 2) and nothing left for Titan or Europa.
Pathetic!

Jelly fish (1)

ceview (2857765) | about a year and a half ago | (#43087647)

Well what kind of life would there be? I'm guessing mostly jelly fish. Can they check for any other kind of chemical traces?

Re:Jelly fish (1)

gmuslera (3436) | about a year and a half ago | (#43087909)

Even unicellular life will make a difference. Still most people things that Earth is the center of the univese, and that the rest is just background to make the sky less boring at night.

All these worlds are yours, except Europa! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43088067)

All these worlds are yours, except Europa. Attempt no landing there. Use them together. Use them in peace.

Re:All these worlds are yours, except Europa! (3, Funny)

crossb0nez (1078925) | about a year and a half ago | (#43088397)

My God! It's full of Starfish!!!

Re:All these worlds are yours, except Europa! (0)

a_hanso (1891616) | about a year and a half ago | (#43089449)

Those last two lines are not there in the book.

Discovery? (1)

rossdee (243626) | about a year and a half ago | (#43088363)

You can't really take that channel seriously anymore - its full of stuff like Mythbusters, Deadliest Catch, Dirty Jobs, , Dual Survival, Cash Cab etc
Great entertainment but not real science.

Now that would be ironic (1)

Megahard (1053072) | about a year and a half ago | (#43088771)

If the guy who admits killing Pluto [amazon.com] finds life on another object.

Odds of 'finding' life (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43088941)

Isn't it the 'odds of FINDING life'? The 'odds of life' aren't a factor, there is either life there or there isn't.

Re:Odds of 'finding' life (1)

sFurbo (1361249) | about a year and a half ago | (#43089871)

That depends on whether you interpret "odds" in a frequentistic or a Bayesian context.

All These Worlds Are Yours... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43089115)

ATTEMPT NO
LANDING THERE

How can making an observation "increase odds?" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43089383)

Either there is life on Europa or there isn't. When you talk about "odds" you are talking about something that hasn't happened yet: the odds of a coin coming up tails are 1:1. But life on Europa either exists or it doesn't, and it will be the way it is regardless of what we do.

Pedantic... (1)

Mal-2 (675116) | about a year and a half ago | (#43089857)

The odds of finding life within (not ON) Europa are exactly the same as they were before. The conditions either are or are not conducive to life, whether we were aware of them or not. That life either does or does not exist, whether we were aware of it or not. (The place could be habitable, but uninhabited, so the two statements are not the same.)

What has changed is our belief of just what those odds ARE. The residents of Europa, should they exist, are completely unaffected by this news... at least until we decide to drop in on them.

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