Press Esc to close
Tuesday 02 September 2014
News updated at 5:00 PM IST
Weather
Max: 27°C
Min : 20°C
In Bangalore
Generally cloudy

Jupiter's moons are the key to alien life

WASHINGTON, Apr 23,2012, Agencies :

Researchers are keen on exploring Jupiter's icy moons, which may resemble some of the planets found orbiting stars beyond our solar system, to assess their suitability for life.

Europa, Callisto and Jupiter's largest moon, Ganymede, are all believed to have liquid oceans beneath their icy shells, as well as organic chemistry and possible sources of energy beyond the dim amount of sunlight that reaches their distant surfaces.

These are all conditions that may be required for life in much more distant planetary bodies.


"We thought for quite some time these were dead icy bodies, but we have recently actually discovered a fabulous collection of very geologically active things there," planetary scientist Athena Coustenis, with the Paris Observatory in France, said.

A newly proposed mission, The Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer, nicknamed JUICE, would send a spacecraft to study the three moons and their habitability.

Mission planners selected Ganymede as an archetype of an exoplanet water world like GJ 1214b, a super-Earth discovered last year circling a star about 40 light-years from Earth.

"We think it is the best example of a liquid environment trapped between icy layers," JUICE science study team member Olga Prieto Ballesteros, with the Center of Astrobiology in Madrid , Spain, said.

Europa poses an intriguing model to those exploring the possibility of alien life because its buried ocean is believed to be in direct contact with the moon's silicate mantle, a source of salts and other elements.  Europa is thought to be like exoplanets that are between water worlds and Earth-like bodies.

"The icy planetary bodies have opened the possibility to find habitats in deeper environments. We can say that these will expand the classical concept of habitability," which previously was limited to places with liquid water on surface , Prieto Ballesteros said. 

Go to Top

Photo Gallery
President Pranab Mukherjee grants degree to a student at the 14th convocation of the University...

President Pranab Mukherjee grants degree to a student at the 14th convocation of the University...

Fireworks on the occasion of 410th installation anniversary of Sri Guru Granth Sahib, the holy...

Fireworks on the occasion of 410th installation anniversary of Sri Guru Granth Sahib, the holy...

Left Front activists take part in a rally to observe anti-imperialist day in Kolkata on...

Left Front activists take part in a rally to observe anti-imperialist day in Kolkata on...

Flood water flows through Srisailam dam after its four crest gates were opened in Kurnool on...

Flood water flows through Srisailam dam after its four crest gates were opened in Kurnool on...

BJP president Amit Shah during a visit to Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple in Thiruvananthapuram on...

BJP president Amit Shah during a visit to Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple in Thiruvananthapuram on...

Prime Minister Narendra Modi shakes hands with Japanese Minister of Foreign Affairs Fumio...

Prime Minister Narendra Modi shakes hands with Japanese Minister of Foreign Affairs Fumio...

Actress & BJP MP from Chandigarh Kirron Kher speaks during a seminar on...

Actress & BJP MP from Chandigarh Kirron Kher speaks during a seminar on...

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe makes a toast during a banquet...

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe makes a toast during a banquet...

Congress president Sonia Gandhi prays in a temple during a visit to her constituency Rae Bareli...

Congress president Sonia Gandhi prays in a temple during a visit to her constituency Rae Bareli...

Congress president Sonia Gandhi in a village hut during a visit to her constituency Rae Bareli on...

Congress president Sonia Gandhi in a village hut during a visit to her constituency Rae Bareli on...

Copyright 2014, The Printers (Mysore) Private Ltd., 75, M.G Road, Post Box 5331, Bangalore - 560001
Tel: +91 (80) 25880000 Fax No. +91 (80) 25880523