Don’t Get Too Excited

21 09 2016

Pasadena, California

My bet is all that will happen is that they will announce scientific proof (or close to it) that Europa has a subsurface ocean of liquid water.  Nothing about life.

The reason why that by itself is important is because even though it is assumed that Europa has a subsurface liquid water ocean, and that speculation first started churning about 25 years ago, that has never been completely proven, and another credible possibility is that what is under there is water ice that undergoes a convection heat transfer.

If Monday does bring us hard proof of liquid, then it will probably both put the proposed cryobot lander and explorer both back on NASA’s to-do list and bump it up in priority.  It would be a nuclear powered corkscrew that digs through the surface layer ice, dips into the ocean, and looks around for life.



2 responses

25 09 2016
26 09 2016

Turns out to be evidence of water vapor plumes around the south pole. Read carefully, and you’ll find that it does NOT prove that there’s a subsurface water ocean — The existence of the plumes does not prove that and does not rule out that what is down there is warm convecting ice:

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