Wanderers is a vision of humanity’s expansion into the Solar System, based on scientific ideas and concepts of what our future in space might look like, if it ever happens. The locations depicted in the film are digital recreations of actual places in the Solar System, built from real photos and map data where available.
Without any apparent story, other than what you may fill in by yourself, the idea with the film is primarily to show a glimpse of the fantastic and beautiful nature that surrounds us on our neighboring worlds – and above all, how it might appear to us if we were there.
Scientists believe there is an ocean hidden beneath the surface of Jupiter’s moon Europa. NASA-JPL astrobiologist Kevin Hand explains why scientists are so excited about the potential of this ice-covered world to answer one of humanity’s most profound questions.
Such active geology suggests that Europa’s icy surface is connected to its buried ocean — creating a possible pathway for salts, minerals and maybe even microbes to get from the ocean to the surface and back again.
Places have already been spotted on Europa where fresh ice crust is being born, but the latest research is the first to pinpoint where it might be going to die.
But without high-resolution images from more areas, researchers cannot tell whether subduction might also be happening in other locations. If it turns out to be common, it might mean that the moon could be cycling life-friendly compounds between the surface and the deep, and that substantially increases the chance that its ocean is habitable, says Michael Bland, a planetary scientist at the US Geological Survey in Flagstaff, Arizona.
The discovery adds to excitement set off in December, when scientists reported plumes of water vapour spurting out at Europa’s south pole (L. Roth et al. Science 343, 171–174; 2014). The plumes have not been seen since, and they may or may not be related to Europa’s newly appreciated system of plate tectonics. NASA now needs to figure out what kind of mission might best to explore these discoveries.
grinderbot: grinding.be » Blog Archive » welcome to the grim meathook present Bruce Sterling once said something like: “the future is on a sliderbar between the grim meathook future and the bright green spime world“. Well it’s clear now that those are two options on the one Möbius strip; two sides of the one dystopic, bad penny. […]
This colorized image of Europa is a product of clear-filter grayscale data from one orbit of NASA’s Galileo spacecraft, combined with lower-resolution color data taken on a different orbit.
The blue-white terrains indicate relatively pure water ice, whereas the reddish areas contain water ice mixed with hydrated salts, potentially magnesium sulfate or sulfuric acid.
The reddish material is associated with the broad band in the center of the image, as well as some of the narrower bands, ridges, and disrupted chaos-type features. It is possible that these surface features may have communicated with a global subsurface ocean layer during or after their formation.
The image area measures approximately 101 by 103 miles (163 km by 167 km). The grayscale images were obtained on November 6, 1997, during the Galileo spacecraft’s 11th orbit of Jupiter, when the spacecraft was approximately 13,237 miles (21,700 kilometers) from Europa. These images were then combined with lower-resolution color data obtained in 1998, during the spacecraft’s 14th orbit of Jupiter, when the spacecraft was 89,000 miles (143,000 km) from Europa.
The “burdensome” problem for the scientific community in describing a habitable zone is that scientists know little about where life forms, Marcy said.
“There’s a split brain that we scientists have right now. Half of our brain says there’s a habitable zone and it lies between a region inward of where the Earth is and a region outside the Earth’s orbit [for stars our size],” he said. “The other half of our brain knows perfectly well that excellent destinations for our search for life lie elsewhere in the Solar System.”
Europa — a moon of Jupiter first discovered by Galileo — never ceases to surprise and amaze astronomers and amateurs alike. Last December astronomers announced water plumes erupting 100 miles high from the moon’s icy south pole. It was the best evidence yet that Europa, heated internally by the powerful tidal forces generated by Jupiter’s gravity, has a deep subsurface ocean. It caused the search for life in the outer solar system to take quite a turn.
Now, NASA has issued a Request for Information (RFI) to science and engineering communities for ideas for a mission to the enigmatic moon. Any ideas need to address fundamental questions about the subsurface ocean and the search for life beyond Earth.
In my newly self-appointed role as inheritor to Galileo…
As the spiritual leader of the hyperreal religion practiced by the Posthuman Flight Club…
I say: No. No, no, no, no, no, NO!
I say: exercise some patience and restraint.
I say: take only readings.
I declare Europa a protected moon in the solar system’s ecology.
If there really is the highest chance of life there we should tread as gently as possible. Taking each step with maximum certainty.