2.5 Is Europa habitable?
In this video several scientists explain why this moon is now the subject of so much interest. The video illustrates the surface features on Europa and discusses how they have led scientists to see Europa as a potentially habitable world. In this context, ‘habitable’ refers to suitability for simple, microbial, life to survive there. It does not imply that humans could live there without protection.
Bear in mind the following issues as you watch.
- What is the evidence for a young surface?
- Could you sketch the ball-of-string, raft and matrix textures?
- What features might Europa have that makes it potentially suitable for life? Give examples of where such features are found on Earth.
- What adaptations might life need to make in order to survive on Europa?
See also:. The joint NASA-European Space Agency mission to Europa described as ‘on hold’ in this video has been replaced by an ESA mission in 2022 to study Ganymede, Callisto and Europa called JUICE (Jupiter Icy moons Explorer).