School: Clearspring Elementary School, Damascus, MD
Teacher: Emily Bizzell
After closely studying all three moons, I chose the best place to return with another spacecraft is Jupiter’s moon Europa. Europa is one of the most mysterious moons in our Solar System. This moon orbits the giant gas planet, Jupiter. I think this moon is special because of one reason, it has water a few miles under the crust. There is an ocean about 60 miles deep and that ocean is bigger than all the water on earth combined! We know that wherever there is water, there might be life. For all we know, there could be life forms in that ocean in Europa.
Europa's seafloor could be heated by the moon's constant flexing, driving hydrothermal activity similar to undersea volcanoes in Earth's oceans. In addition to tidal heating, the interior of Europa could also be heated by the decay of radioactive material within the rocky mantle. We need a future mission to examine Europa's chemical composition to searching for extraterrestrial life in its hypothesized heated oceans subsurface. Water with a hot environment is an ideal place for life forms to exist.
There are many benefits of exploring Europa. We could build an outpost on this moon where we can refuel our spacecraft by converting the water to liquid hydrogen and oxygen which rocket fuel is made of. Then, with this ready to go spacecraft, we can explore deeper space. This procedure would be easy on Europa than on Earth because Europa has less gravitational force than earth and the same hemisphere of the moon always faces to space.
If we send a spacecraft to Europa, I recommend carrying radar equipment to penetrate the surface ice and study the ocean beneath. I also recommend carrying equipment to study the plumes of water from Europa’s surface.
For these reasons, we should explore and learn more about this moon. I strongly believe this moon is the answer to the question we all asked: “Is there other life out there?”