How Deep Must Life Hide to Be Safe on Europa?
3 Apr 2012
Jupiter's icy moon Europa is subject to constant and significant blasts of radiation. Researchers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory are now attempting to determine how deep life must lay beneath the moon's crust in order to survive.
"Simple theories of how deep the electrons go are only known for very high energy electrons," said Murthy Gudipati, of JPL, California Institute of Technology, whose research focuses on electrons bombarding ice. "Even in the megaelectron volt range, we do not have any laboratory data that has been measured on ices containing organic matter, which is really important for astrobiology."
The results of the experiment could be important for future missions looking for life on Europa.