How we might find life on EuropaJupiter’s icy moon is a great candidate for habitability. But life’s best chance to exist is beneath the crust.Europa, one of Jupiter’s four Galilean moons, is not the most welcoming place. On the surface, daytime temperatures barely surpass −260 degrees Fahrenheit (–160 degrees Celsius), and a fractured, icy shell blankets the landscape. Giant geysers occasionally blast water vapor 125 miles (200 kilometers) above the surface — the equivalent of about 20 stacked Mount Everests. If these conditions weren’t enough to deter visitors, intense radiation from Jupiter would doom any living thing on the surface.Yet Europa is considered one of the best candidates to sustain life in the solar system. Despite its extreme conditions, the moon hits the trifecta of requirements for life as we know it: water, energy, and chemical building blocks. Although Europa is just one-quarter the diameter of our planet, it harbors a subsurface ocean twice the volume of the oceans on Earth. This aquatic environment, which has been stable for billions of years, may be a reservoir for life — and scientists want to find out whether it lurks beneath the surface.
This Just In: Human Landing System DownselectNASA has down-selected the National Team we’re part of for the next phase of the Human Landing System (HLS). The team — which is led by Blue Origin and includes Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Draper — is excited to use our combined heritage and advanced work on individual HLS elements to send astronauts to the surface of the Moon.
In 1977, NASA launched the twin Voyager spacecraft to probe the outer reaches of our solar system. The space agency was still in its infancy then. But with the triumph of the Apollo Moon landings just five years behind them, NASA was ready to dive headfirst into another bold idea.Thanks to a rare alignment of the solar system’s four outer planets — which happens just once every 175 years — the agency had the chance to redefine astronomy by exploring Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune in one fell swoop.The scheme was a stunning success.At Jupiter, the probes surprised scientists when they spotted volcanoes on the moon Io and discovered Europa is likely an ocean world. Saturn surrendered its atmospheric composition and new rings. And Voyager 2 returned humanity’s only close-up looks at Uranus and Neptune. To this day, scientists are still making new discoveries by exploring Voyager's decades-old data.
It seems like everyone has Mars on the mind these days. NASA wants to send humans to the red planet by 2030, and SpaceX wants to get there even sooner, with plans to have people there by 2024.Mars is a favorite theme in Hollywood, with movies like The Martian and this year’s Life exploring what we might find once we finally reach our celestial neighbor, but most of them aren’t addressing the biggest questions — once we get there, how will we survive long-term?
Could Life Survive on a Planet Orbiting a Black Hole?There could potentially be a habitable zone around a supermassive black hole. But the intense gravity poses unique dangers.By Erika K. Carlson | Published: Friday, October 11, 2019RELATED TOPICS: BLACK HOLES | EXOPLANETS | HABITABLE WORLDS
If we wish to colonize another world, finding a planet with a gravitational field that humans can survive and thrive under will be crucial. If its gravity is too strong our blood will be pulled down into our legs, our bones might break, and we could even be pinned helplessly to the ground.Finding the gravitational limit of the human body is something that’s better done before we land on a massive new planet. Now, in a paper published on the pre-print server arXiv, three physicists, claim that the maximum gravitational field humans could survive long-term is four-and-a-half times the gravity on Earth.Or, at least you could if you are an Icelandic strongman – and Game of Thrones monster – who can walk with more than half a metric ton on your back. For mere mortals, the researchers say, it would need to be a little weaker.
Espetacular imagem desde a estação espacial internacional, deixa-se ver o oceano Atlântico e o oceano Pacífico, Argentina, Chile e Uruguai.A cordilheira dos Andes e a silhueta da Lua. O que você sabe?
Karen Meech doesn’t spend a lot of time digging through Earth’s rocks. An astronomer by trade, she is usually behind the telescope, investigating comets and looking for hints about how Earth got its water. But a field trip to Iceland in 2004 ultimately sent her scrambling through the craters of Hawaii nearly a decade later in search of clues about the liquid that helped birth life on this planet.On that fateful Icelandic tour, Meech saw geothermal areas with gas billowing out of the ground. The guide told the group not to worry — it was only water. “Then she said, ‘This is probably primordial water,’ and it set a lightbulb off,” Meech says. The flavors of waterThe source of Earth’s water has been a long-standing mystery; Meech herself has been trying to solve it for at least 20 years. Most of that search has focused on sorting out the various isotopes of hydrogen that go into making the water — or “the flavor of water,” as Lydia Hallis of the University of Glasgow calls it. One of those “flavors” is heavy water, a form of water that incorporates deuterium, an isotope of hydrogen whose nucleus contains one proton and one neutron. Normal hydrogen lacks a neutron, so water with deuterium weighs more than ordinary water.
Hubble watches a suspected exoplanet disappear before its very eyesPreviously thought to be an exoplanet, further observations suggest that what originally looked like a distant world was likely just a titanic collision between icy space rocks.By Hailey Rose McLaughlin | Published: Wednesday, April 22, 2020