School: St. Ignatius of Loyola School
City: Guelph (Province: Ontario)
Teacher: Mrs. Carolyn Brown
Europa, one of Jupiter’s moons is thought to have water, which means there could be life!
The temperature on Europa never rises above minus 160 degrees Celsius or minus 260 degrees Fahrenheit, making it an entirely icy surface. It has been said that there might be life on Europa, but judging by Europa’s temperature, there is a great chance there is no life on Europa, unless the atmosphere’s temperature changes. Infrared technology has discovered that Europa’s surface is covered with hydrogen peroxide. When peroxide is mixed with water, oxygen is created which can sustain life.
Similar to the Earth, it is also thought Europa has a mantle made of silicate rock, and a core made of iron and nickel. It is thought that Europa has a thick crust made of ice, covering a salt water ocean that is approximately 100km deep. This ocean may have volcanic activity allowing heat to escape that could cause the crust of its icy surface to break, which could raise the temperature in its atmosphere. Europa orbits Jupiter like the moon orbits the Earth and has gravity, which like on Earth creates tides.
Astronauts who work for NASA have started a project called the Europa Clipper. The base of this project is to find out if there is life on Europa. So far, astronauts have found grooves on Europa’s surface, that could release water vapour into Europa’s atmosphere, which could cause drastic temperature changes. In 2020, the Next-Generation Orbiter is set to launch. The Next-Generation Orbiter was designed to study Jupiter and its many moons, including Europa.
Scientists have found many elements that could potentially support life on Europa. With continued research, perhaps one day human beings will be living on Europa and someday I hope to be one of them.