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Thread: Europa! What is your opinion?

  1. #1
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    Europa! What is your opinion?

    Isn't Europa a marvelous and simply incredible moon? The wonders that it may hold is probably why people are so interested in Europa. The fact that people believe life is living under Europa tells me that people can be gullible. If life is living under Europa, it probably would be something like microbes. Although i am not ruling out the possibility of larger life forms.

    Give me your opinions about life on Europa, do you think it is possible or not? Why or why not? Explain!

  2. #2
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    "People" don't believe life is living under Europa - or rather its ice; they believe it could be living under its ice.

    Quite how you made the leap to "gullible" is beyond me, especially as you seem to allow no life, microbes, and larger life forms. Talk about betting on every horse!

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Beardsley View Post
    "People" don't believe life is living under Europa - or rather its ice; they believe it could be living under its ice.

    Quite how you made the leap to "gullible" is beyond me, especially as you seem to allow no life, microbes, and larger life forms. Talk about betting on every horse!
    Actually, he was not clear about "who."

    I know people that do, indeed, believe there is complex life on Europa

    Most scientists do not believe there is life, but think it is possible.

    In these terms, the leap to gullible makes sense.

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    It'd certaintly be cool if we could swap our moon for another one. Europa would be nice but I'd vote for Io. We could sit in our yards and watch volcanos going off. All we get with our current moon is rocks and dirt and dirt and rocks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jt-3d View Post
    It'd certaintly be cool if we could swap our moon for another one. Europa would be nice but I'd vote for Io. We could sit in our yards and watch volcanos going off. All we get with our current moon is rocks and dirt and dirt and rocks.
    Not only do we see dirt and rocks on our moon, we always see the same darn side!

  6. #6
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    I think it's possible--something said in light of the many unknowns about Europa's environment. Data so far has suggested a mixed bag of biological pros and cons.

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    Like the early Viking test results. I know there is a very real danger of contamination, but I think we should send a nuclear powered drill bot to investigate. I just had an idea, that while having problems of its own, would help minimise the risk of radioactive contamination. What if we had a station on the surface that held the radioactive materials, and feed the power through what will be a really long extension cord That way if the craft crashes, or if something happens to the drill-bot, 'only' the surface will be contaminated. I know nuclear power frightens some people, but at this distance from the sun, it's the only real option unfortunately.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ravens_cry
    I know nuclear power frightens some people, but at this distance from the sun, it's the only real option unfortunately.
    Without nuclear power, we will forever be stuck in LEO.

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    Or at the most, orbit period, we did get to the moon by chemical reactions, but only by throwing away everything but the kitchen sink to get there. The whole Apollo concept rather reminded me of this old cartoon I saw of these robbers shooting at this cop chasing them in a squad-car. First shot removes the top, then everything but the frame,and wheels, next its a tricycle, then its a bicycle, then its the cop peddling along on a unicycle.

  10. #10
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    Without nuclear power, we will forever be stuck in LEO.
    Check out the space probe Dawn.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dawn_Mission

    It will perform a more than 10 km/sec velocity change using a solar powered ion drive, which has a specific impulse more than six times that of a liquid fueled rocket.

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    It will perform a more than 10 km/sec velocity change using a solar powered ion drive, which has a specific impulse more than six times that of a liquid fueled rocket.
    Solar powered ion drive propulsion may be fine for unmanned missions, but aren't terribly useful for manned missions where you want to get to your destination quickly while hauling large payloads (life support systems and materials, mission hardware, shielding, backup and redundancy systems, etc). The equation looks worse the farther out in the solar system you want to go.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DrWho View Post
    Without nuclear power, we will forever be stuck in LEO.
    Not really. Nuclear is a useful option, true, but it's only one option of many.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername
    Nuclear is a useful option, true, but it's only one option of many.
    What other options do you see as being practical for manned exploration of the solar system (including the outer planets) and which aren't totally pie-in-the-sky?

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    DrWho, nuclear is as pie in the sky as any other idea for manned exploration of the planets, considering the fact we havn't doen any! From where I stand now, I do think some form of Nucular propulsion is the best option, whether Nucular electric, for a ion drive with thrust that could work for a manned program, to even the 1950's Orion. But, as of yet, it is all as you say,"pie in the sky"

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    By 'pie-in-the-sky' I mean things which are theoretically possible, but which we don't have a clue how to do at this time, like fusion or antimatter or wormholes, etc. Not stuff which we could do now (or soon) if there was political will and money behind it.

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    Okay sorry, I rather jumped the gun there. Peace?

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    Quote Originally Posted by ravens_cry View Post
    Okay sorry, I rather jumped the gun there. Peace?
    Of course - I come in peace!

  18. #18
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    Personally, though remotely possible, I doubt very much there is life on Europa. There may be some complex compounds that are the precursors to life but I would imagine the inhospitable conditions would rule anything else out. The radiation from Jupiter must be lethal. Some might point to tubeworms living beside hydrothermal vents, miles beneath the sea - or living bacteria in Antarctica. But it's important to realise these creatures evolved here, adapted with evolution and found a niche. While some of these could possibly survive on Europa, could they have originated there? I suspect not. It would be rather cool if there was life there, though.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Occam View Post
    Personally, though remotely possible, I doubt very much there is life on Europa. There may be some complex compounds that are the precursors to life but I would imagine the inhospitable conditions would rule anything else out. The radiation from Jupiter must be lethal. Some might point to tubeworms living beside hydrothermal vents, miles beneath the sea - or living bacteria in Antarctica. But it's important to realise these creatures evolved here, adapted with evolution and found a niche. While some of these could possibly survive on Europa, could they have originated there? I suspect not. It would be rather cool if there was life there, though.
    Very cool indeed!

    If Earth is any kind of example to go by though... I would say that Life itself is a tough thing, prone to overcome even the most daunting conditions.

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    OPAG (Outer Planets Assesment Group) Europa Explorer Public Report

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    In case you did not know, NASA is in the process of selecting next Flagship mission to be launched in 2015-2020 timeframe. Europa Explorer is one choice, the others being Titan Explorer and Jupiter System Observer (essentially Galileo 2). Final selection should be made early next year. Enceladus probe was first to drop from competition for the next Flagship mission.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neverfly View Post
    Very cool indeed!
    Absolutely!
    Even if it's a remote possibility,
    it's really cool that we might yet find life in our immediate vicinity.

    And let's not forget that it also enormously widens the range of exoplanets potentially suitable for life.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ilya View Post
    In case you did not know, NASA is in the process of selecting next Flagship mission to be launched in 2015-2020 timeframe. Europa Explorer is one choice, the others being Titan Explorer and Jupiter System Observer (essentially Galileo 2). Final selection should be made early next year. Enceladus probe was first to drop from competition for the next Flagship mission.
    What a pity we can't launch all of those tomorrow!!!

  24. #24
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    Heh, long time no see, BAuters.

    Quote Originally Posted by Occam View Post
    The radiation from Jupiter must be lethal.
    Erm, no one claim that European life is on surface...

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by MaDeR View Post
    Heh, long time no see, BAuters.


    Erm, no one claim that European life is on surface...
    Erm, no-one claims that intense electro magnetic flux radiation stops when it hits ice either
    http://www.saturntoday.com/news/viewpr.html?pid=10829

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Occam View Post
    Erm, no-one claims that intense electro magnetic flux radiation stops when it hits ice either
    http://www.saturntoday.com/news/viewpr.html?pid=10829
    "No one claims it" in the link you provided because it is too obvious to mention. Several tens of meters of ice will stop ANY charged particle.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ilya View Post
    "No one claims it" in the link you provided because it is too obvious to mention. Several tens of meters of ice will stop ANY charged particle.
    Oh, well obviously I'm wrong and there IS life on Europa, living in the radiation free tropical paradise beneath the kilometres of ice. Who would have thought a personal opinion could be incorrect?

    Seriously, I'm not making a definitive statement here, just throwing out my personal ideas. There is a vast and lethal torus of radiation around Jupiter and Europa is well inside it. If there is a liquid ocean beneath Europa's ice, it will be due to heat generated by tectonic forces, in turn caused by the immense tidal stress from Jupiter's gravity. Not, I would think, a very likely environment to nurture life.

    Here is a paper about Europa's ocean that, quite frankly, is a little beyond me - but some may find it interesting.
    http://www.lpl.arizona.edu/~rlorenz/europa.pdf

  28. #28
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    My opinion is this.

    There is some evidence, though by no means conclusive that Europa has liquid water beneath that ice shell.

    Problem is this.

    The liquid ocean if it exists, will be extremely toxic. Europa's interior beneath the crust is being kept warm, by the same processes that powers Io's volcanoes, though with Europa the effect is only about 10% of that experienced by Io.

    However, this is still enough to generate some ocean floor volcanism. These volcanoes will be adding sulphuric compounds, to the ocean.

    Unlike Earth, that has a water cycle, which prevents the oceans from getting too toxic, Europa does not.

    That water is ancient & is sealed in by the cryonically cold ice shell. Over time it will have become very poisonous as toxins from potential ocean floor volcanoes increased. I also suspect the water is extremely saline.

    If there is life, I expect it to be found on the ice / liquid boundary, very simple forms. I suspect there will be nothing more advanced or widespread.

    I think the life in the potential Europa ocean, is a fanciful idea & a lot of people have jumped on that bandwagon.

    Andrew Brown.

  29. #29
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    On the other hand could life, by encapsulating the toxins in its own bodies, say into a calcite like material, say when they die, littering the ocean bed with their shells, remove enough toxins to allow for life forms extremely adapted to the situation to survive? The water would be toxic to most of our kinds of life forms, but there is creatures who live right next to the black smokers on the ocean floor, not only that, they thrive.

  30. #30
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    For me the question is one of "is it likely?"
    In an infinite universe, anything is essentially possible. I once read a story in which a planet itself became sentient. It was rich in silicon and other minerals and acted like a giant computer of sorts. You could argue that it was possible but hardly likely, and that's how I would view life developing on Europa.

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