The Chances of Finding Alien Life on Jupiter’s Moon Europa Just Shot Way Up, it says here. Very eye-catching! What’s the article about?
Forget Mars—Jupiter’s moon Europa is one of the most promising worlds in the solar system to look for alien life, in large part because it boasts a huge liquid ocean sitting below a sheet of ice.
We all knew that, of course. Especially those of us who have read A Darkling Sea by James Cambias, which as you know has some of the coolest aliens in all of science fiction. On the planet Ilmatar, under a roof of ice a kilometer thick, a team of deep-sea diving scientists investigates the blind alien race that lives below. … The Ilmatarians are by far the neatest thing about this book, which is readable, but better as a showcase for aliens in a Europa-like environment than for the plot or human characters.
A new study published in Nature Communications on Tuesday reveals that the icy shell itself might be much more porous than previously thought. In fact, the ice might be home to multiple pockets of water that could be habitable to life as well. … Culberg cautioned that we won’t be able to confirm any of this until we’ve had a chance to actually study Europa directly. That will likely occur in the next decade: NASA is planning to launch an orbiting probe called Europa Clipper in October 2024, and it should arrive at the Jovian moon in April 2030.
2030! Well, I should be around to see that, with any reasonable luck. I’ll be hoping for REAL life, eg the sort of ecosystem envisioned by A Darkling Sea. Bacteria or other such critters would be merely mildly interesting rather than seriously neat.