Is there life on Europa? Let's find out!!

You are about 500,000,000 miles from Earth, crammed inside a small submarine no larger than a Ford Focus about to be slowly lowered approximately 15 miles below the surface of until now, a never before studied water world.

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Each passing second of the sojourn down seeps of anticipation. The incredible distance and technological feats to even reach this point are outstanding. The hopes and dreams of humanitys push towards scientific discovery in the future rests on the success of the events about to occur, and the discoveries that everyone anticipates will happen on this trip.

Upon the ship finally immersing itself in the water, a massive searchlight gradually begins to glow and a whole new world appears before your eager eyes. Tiny specks of dust and what seems to be something similar to plankton swirl about the ship. The water is teeming with these mere speck-sized particles and you suddenly have an eerie realization: You are now the alien in an otherwise undisturbed world.

After several hours of diving deeper and deeper into the alien abyss, the water clears. Your submarines microphones have been picking up sounds not familiar to that of a diving ship. However, other than microbial life forms, nothing has yet to appear closely resembling a fish or anything similar to an earthlike invertebrate. You wonder aloud if anything else is out there? Is this area of the ocean barren to larger life or is the entire world mostly empty?

Suddenly the outside halogen light flickers out. In a slight panic you begin to scramble for the systems reset effectively recycling the battery hoping to bring the light back on. Looking down at the panel before you, something catches your eye outside. It appeared at first to be a reflection, but as your pulse begins to quicken, you notice it's moving. And there appears to be more than one.

Slowly rising in your chair, your eyes strain to see if what you saw was real, or just an oxygen deprived hallucination. Listening intently to the speakers, breathing slowly, a bead of sweat rolls down towards your eye. As you raise your trembling hand above your brow to wipe it away, you see something again. And then another. And another. And

Peering out the front window with both fear and excitement running through your veins, you watch as faintly green and red glowing fish swim past your ship. Silently they breeze by the sub with the occasional thump resonating through the cabin as a body bumps the outer hull as it moves by. Bioluminescent fish had been theorized on worlds other than ours, and if they we're to be found anywhere but Earth, this would be the place to find them. But to see firsthand proof of such an amazingly similar life form to those found in the perpetually dark depths of Earths oceans, is profound at an unimaginable level.

Before your eyes hundreds if not thousands of fish-like creatures are swimming before you. Youre able to estimate their size at about 4-5ft long about the size of an office desk and fascinatingly similar to fish on Earth, with one significant difference: They have no eyes! And why would they? This eternally undisturbed sanctuary has never been exposed to light of any kind in over a millennia.

Other than the rush of the water, these fish make no audible sound, but other sensors are collecting information like crazy. It becomes apparent that these creatures are communicating through high pitched frequencies similar to earthbound Dolphin. Without light it appears to be the best way to understand what is up and down, to get around without running into anything and to communicate with similar fish.

Suddenly the light flashes on and the water becomes as bright as day. Incredibly the fish initially scatter as if taken by surprise. While the school generally continues to flow by uninterested in the subs existence, for brief moments, a few do swim up to the light and investigate. Something about it intrigues them, though it doesn't seem possible that it's the light itself.

Curiously, their skin is milky white and mildly translucent. Beautifully, beneath the flesh, a pinkish hue is visible connecting to their earthly relatives. The subs cameras are recording some up close video and photos of that will be very useful to study and that history will remember forever.

After a few minutes the excitement ends as the last few straggling fish stream by. The sensors pick something else up off in the distance, but unfortunately it is time to float back up to the surface and send all this fascinating information back to your orbiting compadres, and the eager scientists back on Earth.

SCIENCE FICTION OR SCIENCE FACT?

Currently this is nothing but science fiction. An event similar to the one imagined likely won't be science fact for at least a century, if not longer. However, the possibility of an unmanned probe penetrating the thick, frozen surface of Jupiters ocean moon Europa is not out of the realm of possibility.

Teams of scientists around the world have been considering the possibilities of sending an unmanned marine probe to Europa burrowing through the thick, icy surface, surviving the constant barrage of Jupiters intense radiation, trekking through the open, flowing world-wide ocean, and studying the potential life it may encounter.

It is very unlikely that anything larger than an earth-like microbe will be discovered and even that may be a miracle. It is speculated that if in existence, life forms might only be found near hydrothermal vents or around some sort of heated areas of the ocean floor. However as Michael Crieghtons Jurassic Park character Dr. Malcolm so famously said: Life, finds a way.

If microbes are all to be found, just getting to those depths necessary will be another very significant challenge, but something that many scientists would love a crack at. The possibility of being the first to discover life on another world and ending the ages old question are we alone will drive many to push to develop the newest in technological advancements quenching our thirst for answers about the universe and propelling humankind throughout the solar system, and beyond.

Many of the mysteries of our universe can be answered right in our own solar neighborhood, and the subsurface ocean of Europa may be the next big step towards our future in the solar system. We now know that there is water on Mercury, Earths Moon, Mars, and other worlds around our Sun. We know that there is life here on Earth in places we never thought there could be. We know that although the surface of Europa is a frozen wasteland constantly under assault by Jupiters intense radiation, the subsurface ocean could be habitable to all sorts of life.

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Posted in Transportation/Automotive Post Date 03/05/2021


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