We have examined previously the four gas giants that reside on the outer edges of our solar system, and more to the point their moons, which many scientists believe not only offer a chance for human colonization but also may already harbor alien life. One of the leading candidates for both scenarios is Europa, one of the main moons of Jupiter, the largest of all planets in our solar system.
And while we will look at Europa and the potential for alien life, as well as the upcoming experiments on the icy moon shortly, recent discoveries regarding the gas giant of gas giants in our cosmic neck of the woods, perhaps give those scientists even more reason to proceed. Because while we are certain of water on Europa, there may also be the possibility of water on Jupiter. Meaning, like Europa, alien life on the planetary behemoth “can’t be ruled out”.
With scientists predicting that we will “find alien life within twenty years”, despite the recent revelations of liquid water on Mars, the Europa-Jupiter system may indeed be the place we will find it.
“Life On Jupiter Is Not Beyond The Range Of Our Imagination!”
Although it is extremely unlikely that life does, or even could, exist on Jupiter, at least how we understand it, a recent discovery of water clouds within the famous Great Red Spot has made scientists do a double-take of sorts on the chemical make-up of the region and the potential consequences to life thereof.
While humanity has collectively known of Jupiter’s existence going back to antiquity, it was only in 1830 when the Great Red Spot was first observed. Within it, a space that can host around three or four Earth-sized planets, a vicious wind storm continually rages. These storms are monsters in themselves, with winds reaching speeds in excess of 400 miles per hour.
However, recent discoveries confirm the distinct (and predicted) presence of water clouds within the Great Red Spot. An astrophysicist at Clemson University, Mate Adamkovics, while cautious of making an automatic connection between the presence of liquid water and the potential for life would state that while “it appears very unlikely, life on Jupiter is not beyond the range of our imaginations”.
The short video below looks at these revelations.
Evidence Of Intelligent Design?
The studies are due to move on to look at the entire planet next. If the results replicate elsewhere on the gas giant, then that would suggest significant “water-based” activity previously unknown to us. However, if it is limited to the Great Red Spot, then we have to ask, why? What might be special about this area? And more to the point, is it a natural, albeit freak, cosmic occurrence?
Or might, as speculative a suggestion as it is, it be an indication of intelligent design? Something purposely created in a specific part of the planet to harness and “create” water. And with this in mind, might the Great Red Spot, already a wonder of the universe from the human perspective, become something similar to the Mega Hex of Saturn? A similarly “suspicious” anomaly that has many in the conspiracy world convinced it is of such design.
We will look at one of Jupiter’s main moons, Europa, in a moment. It is widely accepted that of all the moons and planets in our solar system it would be one of the most likely to support life. In relation to any speculative similarities between the Mega Hex of Saturn and the Great Red Spot of Jupiter, though, it is perhaps interesting that the other leading celestial destination predicted to be able to support life is Enceladus, one of the main moons of the ringed planet. Might we find, if we do attempt one day in the future to colonize one or both of these moons that another colony already exists? One perhaps from long ago? Or, perhaps more worryingly depending on circumstances, one that remains in operation today?
Tectonic Activity On Europa!
While further study of Jupiter will continue, one of its main moons, Europa, is many scientists’ leading prospect for life elsewhere in our solar system. In December 2017 scientists claimed they had evidence of “sliding tectonic plates” under the thick icy crust on the surface of the enigmatic celestial body. This activity further increases the possibility of “alien life” existing in the huge oceans beneath Europa’s surface. Assistant professor at the Department of Earth, Environmental and Planetary Sciences, Brandon Johnson, would state that it is this tectonic activity that “offers a way to supply the nutrients it (life) would need”.
The tectonic activity on Earth is due to the “cooler” planet’s slabs entering the hot mantle and sinking into it. In doing so, this causes movement nearer the surface. However, as Europa is an icy world, there is debate as to whether such activity occurs in the same way. One theory is that such tectonic movement could be caused be sufficient salt in the water beneath the icy surface. If this is the case, and the oceans were effectively similar, or even the same as those on Earth, then the possibility of life existing there almost rockets upwards.
In the summer of 2018, further reports coming from NASA would state that alien life, albeit in trace or microbe form, may be “just a centimeter beneath the surface” of Europa. Furthermore, providing the correct landing spot was established, this would allow NASA scientists to test for such life in the (relatively) immediate future as a deep-drilling mission wouldn’t be required. An initial fly-by mission is set to launch in 2022. Hopes are a lander will follow that would search directly on the surface.
Who Do You Trust?
Of course, there are various missions in the pipeline for this region of the solar system over the coming decades. The European Space Agency, for example, also plans missions to Jupiter. They will concentrate their research on the gas giant’s other main moons, Ganymede and Callisto. They will, however, still perform two close fly-bys of Europa. This, in order to “complement” the more in-depth studies by NASA. The search for life is not the top objective of these long-planned visits to the first of the outer planets. Depending on what results they reveal, though, the follow-up mission very well may be. A manned-mission would then be the ultimate goal, although still decades away (at least as far as the public knows).
Many space enthusiasts will be watching Mars, and even the Moon, over the coming years. Eager for more revelations and some of the much-anticipated private space missions to our closest celestial neighbors. The real action, however, might take place one cosmic door along, on the moons of Jupiter. And even on the planet itself.
Perhaps, as unlikely as it may be, a privately funded mission will take place. And, depending on what new technologies are developed and made available, maybe those missions change. Maybe humans go to the icy world of Europa, or Jupiter, or even farther out. Indeed, as technologies, know-how, and capability develop here on Earth, the race for information in outer space will undoubtedly intensify. As will, no doubt, the conspiracies and disinformation. And in this speculative space race, who do you trust?
The video below looks at this region of space in a little more detail.