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Moons of our Solar System
Moons of our Solar System

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1.2 Thinking about Europa

This is an image of Europa.
Figure 2 Europa

If there is life in Europa’s ocean, it may be nothing more than simple microbes living off chemical energy supplied by hot springs on the ocean floor, or snatching brief glimpses of sunlight as tidal cracks open and close in Europa’s icy shell.

What do you think would be the significance of finding life on Europa? Should precautions be taken to prevent contaminating Europa with life from Earth?

You’ll learn more about Europa (Figure 2) later, and you’ll explore the issues relating to life in the Solar System in your final week.