US space agency NASA’s scientists are willing to find signs of extraterrestrial life on Saturn’s icy moon. Scientists believe that Saturn’s icy moon might harbour life beneath the thick icy layer. Previously, researchers have proposed the use of autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) for exploring the surface of Europa and Enceladus.
Europa is the sixth closest moon of the largest planet in our solar system, Jupiter and is the smallest satellite among the four satellites. The planet itself is quite impressive with the ancient cyclonic storms that are larger than our planet Earth along with inheriting a magnetosphere so powerful which defies the comprehension. It is 318 times the mass of the Earth and the icy moons of the planet are possibly the best place to search for the existence of life in the entire solar system.
NASA scientists are trying to formulate a mission to go Jupiter’s giant moon Europa, because there are some scientists who believe in possibility of single-cell organisms being there in the waters of Europa. A scientist said that, ” we don’t care where we find life elsewhere in Europa, but just imagine what that says about us and life, if we found out whether life exists at other places in the solar system.”
The current mission will give a better insight of the moon and will help scientists in developing a better understanding of the environment of the moon. In addition, it will reveal key information about the size and shape of the oceans present on the Europa. This is just the beginning as there will be several more missions to the planet in works.
For the mission, NASA scientists have developed a surface-to-subsurface robotic system called Icy-moon Cryovolcano Explorer (ICE) that will be deployed on the surface of Europa. After the landing, ICE will dig the top layer to look for the presence of underwater life. ICE is made up three basic modules — Descent Module (DM), Surface Module (SM), and AUVs.