After sending a shuttle to Mars in search of life beyond the Earth. NASA announced on Monday that they would send a spacecraft to Jupiter’s fourth largest moon, Europa. Currently it is best to confirm the existence of extraterrestrial life as 390 million miles away, the Europa is made of ice and scientists believe that there must be vast ocean (2 to 3 times bigger than the Earth) under the icy surface, an essential entity for life.
NASA Administrator Charles Bolden comments, “Looking to the future, we’re planning a mission to explore Jupiter’s fascinating moon Europa.” And, NASA officials wrote, in budget proposal summary, “For the first time, the budget supports the formulation and development of a Europa Mission, allowing NASA to begin project formulation, Phase A.”
Europa is 1900 miles wide in diameter, which makes it smaller than our moon. Blue and brown marks on its surface have always fascinated scientists, so they planned to explore it. NASA requested President Obama for the funding to which he gave a nod. It is the first time that any budget for Europa has been approved.
Europa clipper is under development, not only with an aim of discovering life on the moon but also it will measure the ice shell so that the data obtained can be used in future researches. “The way we framed the Europa mission science objectives is not to specifically look for life, but to understand habitability: the ingredients for life,” explains Kevin Hand, deputy chief scientists for solar system exploration at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
There are very high possibilities that ocean beneath the ice surface on Europa might be billions of year old along with entities required for existence of life. If the Europa clipper successfully finds some traces of life, then it will be the biggest achievement in the history of mankind.