Many were thrilled to hear that the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) would reveal the surprising activity on Jupiter’s icy moon, Europa, on Monday, Sept. 26, expecting that it would be something that involves alien life. However, the space agency clarifies on Twitter that their findings about Europa are not aliens.
Instead, NASA’s findings will be related to the presence of a subsurface ocean on Jupiter’s moon. The teleconference will be held at 2 PM EDT and in a statement, the agency revealed that the participants are:
- Paul Hertz, director of the Astrophysics Division at NASA Headquarters in Washington
- William Sparks, astronomer with the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore
- Britney Schmidt, assistant professor at the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta
- Jennifer Wiseman, senior Hubble project scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland
Recently, another study from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) indicates that Europa contains a life-sustaining chemical balance despite the lack of volcanic hydrothermal activity. In their study, which was published in May in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, the scientists claim that Europa’s oxygen production is 10 times higher than its hydrogen production, which is similar to Earth, which shows us that it has the energy crucial for sustaining life.
Moreover, other oxidants on that moon, such as oxygen, could also react with its hydrogen to produce a chemical balance similar to that of our planet.
“The oxidants from the ice are like the positive terminal of a battery, and the chemicals from the sea floor, called reductants, are like the negative terminal,” points out the study’s co-author Kevin Hand, a planetary scientist at the agency’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory “Whether or not life and biological processes complete the circuit is part of what motivates our exploration of Europa.”