Everyone is anticipating to hear what the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) would reveal about Europa, Jupiter’s icy moon, today. While many expect that the space agency would disclose that they found aliens on that moon, NASA cleared up this rumor on Twitter, saying that the surprising activity they found on Europa is not related to extraterrestrial life.
Despite this, Jupiter’s icy moon has been the subject of much interest in recent years. Among the speculations and revelations are the following:
- The icy moon is believed to be around 4.5 billion years old, which is the same age as Jupiter.
- Europa was discovered on Jan. 8, 1610, by the famous Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei, who is also credited with the discovery of Jupiter’s other moons Io, Ganymede and Callisto, collectively called as the Galilean moons. According to Space.com, German astronomer Simon Marius might have also discovered the icy moon around the same time but Galilei got the credit for discovering it.
- Europa is the tiniest of Jupiter’s moons at 1,900 miles or 3,100 km in diameter. By comparison, it is smaller than our planet but larger than Pluto.
- Europa is more Earth-like than we thought. In their study published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, scientists from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California found that this moon’s oxygen production is about 10 times higher than its hydrogen production, which is similar to our planet. In other words, this indicates that the Jovian moon could have the necessary balance of chemical energy needed to support life.
- Researchers from The University of Texas at Austin’s Institute for Geophysics believe that a body of liquid water is hiding deep within the moon’s interior. In their study published in the journal Nature, the water could be the potential habitat for life, which is estimated to have the same volume as the North American Great Lakes.