Lakes on Jupiter’s moon Europa may boost chances for life
The New Horizons spacecraft took this image of Europa rising above Jupiter's clouds on February 28, 2007.
November 16th, 2011
01:00 PM ET

Lakes on Jupiter’s moon Europa may boost chances for life

Jupiter’s smallest Galilean moon, Europa, not only has a massive global ocean, it has huge lakes beneath its icy crust, according to new research.

NASA has been very confident for about a decade that there is a huge ocean on Europa, according to NASA program scientist Curt Niebur. But the ocean is capped by an ice crust and no one was sure about its thickness. Europa is relatively large among the dozens of moons of Jupiter.

Some scientists thought it was a mile or two thick, but most scientists thought it was several miles thick. A thick crust would be bad news for life because it would mean the ocean could never splash up on Europa’s shores to interact with possible sources of food needed to sustain life.

New research announced Wednesday indicates the crust is thick, but it also shows that there are lakes above the oceans and that they are churning. This is key, because it means possible life forms in Europa’s oceans could make it the surface via the lakes to find food.

"One opinion in the scientific community has been, 'If the ice shell is thick, that's bad for biology — that it might mean the surface isn't communicating with the underlying ocean,' " according to Britney Schmidt, a postdoctoral fellow at The University of Texas at Austin's Institute for Geophysics and the lead author of a new study published in the journal Nature.

"Now we see evidence that even though the ice shell is thick, it can mix vigorously. That could make Europa and its ocean more habitable," she said in a statement.

This is fantastic news for scientists hoping find signs of life on Europa, said Niebur.

The lakes are estimated to be 2 to 3 miles below the crust, while the oceans are estimated to be 30 miles down, Niebur said. “It’s a missing link to understanding to whether it (Europa) could support life.”

Scientists are basing their findings, in part, on what they learned from images taken by the old Galileo spacecraft, which was launched in 1989 to gather data and images from Jupiter and its moons. (It crashed into Jupiter in 2003). Those pictures show round bumps called chaos terrains. Based on the way ice moves around on Earth, the researchers developed a model to explain the bumps.

The only way to confirm the model would be to fly a spacecraft to Europa to investigate. A mission is on the drawing board, but NASA hasn’t approved anything yet, according to Niebur.

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soundoff (291 Responses)
  1. Arielled Chantryz

    I simply couldn't leave your website before suggesting that I really enjoyed the standard info a person provide to your visitors? Is gonna be back continuously in order to inspect new posts

    July 11, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
  2. Jeff H.

    Unmasking Europa: The Search for Life on Jupiter's Ocean Moon, by Richard Greenberg, offers a fascinating, highly-detailed explanation of the forces at work on and below Europa's dynamic ice fields.

    December 8, 2011 at 4:02 pm |
  3. Benjamin VanderVeen

    Let's send probes! What an exciting adventure, and a project that could fundamentally change our concept of life, forever! To me, space budgets are nowhere near adequate. We should fund NASA a thousand-fold more than we currently are. Without exploration, what is the point of life?

    November 20, 2011 at 5:42 pm |
  4. me

    shouldnt the congress be sent to outer space???!

    November 20, 2011 at 2:18 pm |
    • Ed

      The problem with that is that there still would be no intelligent life near Jupiter...

      November 22, 2011 at 11:21 am |
      • TruAmeriKan

        Maybe all of their hot air could melt through the miles of ice!!!

        December 7, 2011 at 2:19 pm |
  5. Monessa


    November 20, 2011 at 2:34 am |
  6. amazing

    wow, far to may posters here lack an education... I'm lost for words

    November 18, 2011 at 7:35 pm |
    • Jpgard

      lol...and far too many posters lack any basic grammar skills.

      November 21, 2011 at 2:46 pm |
  7. kristin

    I say we blast off all of the world's homeless, drug users, alcohol abusers, child abusers,retards and OWS protesters in order to create their utopian dreams.

    November 18, 2011 at 11:56 am |
    • JJ

      And we will put you in with the checked baggage…….

      December 6, 2011 at 5:52 pm |
  8. Stinkbomb

    Finally! Something worth reading about. Sick of OWS' bullsh*t.

    November 17, 2011 at 7:34 pm |
  9. dudley0415

    How would spending the hundreds of billions, if not trillions, to find (or not) life on Europa directly benefit my life and my children's lives?

    I'm glad rovers have been on Mars, but as to the substantial benefit to my family personally, versus some interesting things for scientists to study – it's near 0 Kelvin for us.

    November 17, 2011 at 7:18 pm |
    • brandon

      Not everything we do has to have direct material benefit to your bank account or give you a shiny new toy. Discovering life on another planet would be one of the most (if not the most) significant discoveries humans might ever make. The goal of science is just discovering new technology (although it is very often useful for this), it is for learning about how we fit in to the grand scheme of the universe. We spend way more money on meaningless things... it really is a drop in the bucket compared to the garbage our tax dollars are wasted on. It's really annoying that people like you are so short sighted about this kind of thing.

      November 17, 2011 at 7:31 pm |
      • brandon

        meant "the goal of science is *not* just discovering new technology..."

        November 17, 2011 at 7:32 pm |
    • Steve

      Those billions or trillions of $ you speek of will be spent here on earth, not on Europa. NASA and other space agencies employ thousands of people. Some of whom might compete for your job if they were unemployed. In addition the space program gennerates alot of money though patents. The old Apollo program generated somewhere in the range of $7 for every $1 spent through new patents. Cell phones etc are possible because of the space program, so who knows what new technologies will be discovered.

      And barring all that, it is kind of cool. I hope there is independently evovled life there.

      November 18, 2011 at 1:05 am |
    • Atanacio

      I saved all the junk toys, must-have-the-lates types, as my kids grew up. When I gave them away it was nearly a grage- full. I did not calculate how much money was wasted, to no benefit of the kids. If I we were all taxed that amount, it would be, way, way, more than all the space programs of all nations put toghether. What good did that junk toys do, what good do my kids do, what good did I do buying all that junk? I'm trying to put your comment in perspective.

      There is no greater value dollar-for-dollar than to spend our taxes on space exploration.

      November 18, 2011 at 10:23 pm |
    • Biff McReynolds

      Your life, and your children's lives, mean nothing in the grand scheme of things. If everyone was so small minded and self centered we would never have found the Western hemisphere. We could pay for this kind of stuff VERY easily: bring home troops and stop wasting 7 billion dollars a day or week or month on failed ventures. Kristin: You're a moron. One of the great tenets of being a United States citizen is the right to free speech and that includes protest. Shooting homeless people off of the planet is cruel and heartless, but you and most conservatives don't understand those emotions so I will put it n language you CAN understand: Ooga booga tide comes in tide goes out ooga booga. I hope you never lose your job and have to kill yourself rather than become what you hate, another "burden on society".

      December 5, 2011 at 8:19 pm |
  10. Basto

    10 cant oprt. mickysD's how is one gona oprt. the country, oh wait...just print more money wtf

    November 17, 2011 at 2:15 pm |
    • jeriah

      if we printed more money the value of it will go down... i wish we didn't even have currency it just gives people headaches and second hand kills people and divorces them!!!!!!!!!!!!

      November 17, 2011 at 6:59 pm |
  11. Chase bailey

    Dude if there is life on their it still doesent matter it would take the other speicies thousands of years to gain technology the recources over at the moon near juipiter is not that rare to make something high tech in days and plus they would need a giant population to destroy us but who knows.

    November 17, 2011 at 10:20 am |
  12. zach

    Wow how ironic that we found it after the movie AVATAR was out

    November 17, 2011 at 8:49 am |
    • MrWright62

      Weve known about Europa and its oceans loooooong before Avatar came out...

      November 17, 2011 at 12:50 pm |
  13. James T Kirk

    sounds like a few billionairs want some exotic alien marine lifeforms for their ridiculas olympic size aquariums. hell we might learn something to. seriously though, this government couldnt solve a one piece puzzle let alone fund this.

    November 17, 2011 at 8:02 am |
  14. gliese42

    Is the ocean made of water, sea water or chemically contained elements which is hardly water? If it is the later than life will hardly exist although it is proven that life can exist even in molten hot water found in the geysers

    November 17, 2011 at 7:06 am |
    • Oakspar

      Science believes that the material is water (H2O). There is no indication if it is saline (salt) or contaminated with substantial quantities of any other material. The surface is ice to great depth until you get to the point that gravetational pressure (core heat) is great enough for liquid water. We have known this for a long time.

      What the "new" discovery is, is a mathmatical model that shows that the turbulence seen on the ice surfaces, WHEN COMPARED TO ice as we know it on Earth, shows that there might be pockets of liquid water within the ice closer to the surface than the main quantity of liquid water underneath the ice sheath.

      That liquid could be liquid water either churned up by or friction heated through tectonic shifts in the ice sheath. It could be plumes of superheated water attempting to bore their way to the surface through the ice sheath being trapped as their heat dissipates. They could also be suspended lakes of non-water liquid element (like methane) in the ice.

      If they are liquid water, they would serve as a more accessable spot to attempt a study of liquid water on the moon. On the other hand, unless they are not water, such lakes would likely be temporary – being continually created and frozen across the surface of the moon.

      November 17, 2011 at 8:45 am |
      • Matt

        Thanks for all the information. Not sure about the accessible part, don't think it would be feasible for us to send an Armageddon team to Europa to drill 2 to 3 miles down into the ice to get samples. Definitely a great discovery though.

        November 17, 2011 at 2:42 pm |
  15. cc

    China will amaze with first human colony on moon. One big step for man.

    November 17, 2011 at 3:09 am |
  16. duh

    I heard about this in 89 when it was first discovered, why is this news now?

    November 17, 2011 at 3:04 am |
    • Atanacio

      Yes, we knew there was water, and postulated subsurface oceans, what seems to be new is that features indicate the presence of lakes, and thus activity which forms the lakes, and thus the opportunity for chemical energy or other energy sources to reverse entropy into the effective entholpy that life is.

      Not so duh! It is amazing, if one wonders, and what else is there but to wonder? Do I really want to be just a grumpy old man rocking on my creaky bones, closed into my little misseries and meaningless aches; or do I want to return the embrace of creation with the wonder, that I am?

      November 17, 2011 at 7:16 pm |
  17. binky42

    A mission is on the drawing board? Actually that mission, the EJSM mission, is already past the initial planning stages, and the European Space Agency is already going ahead with their part of the plan – whether or not NASA can find funding. It's slated to launch in 2020.

    November 16, 2011 at 10:27 pm |
  18. Kanbei

    Any life there is probably best, maybe small fish-analogues. As cool as it would be, it's pretty unlikely there's anything sentient under the ice, though any life at all would still be an incredible opportunity to study how evolution works in a totally different environment.

    November 16, 2011 at 9:32 pm |
    • Fezzik

      But bacteria would be so cool!

      November 16, 2011 at 9:36 pm |
      • Kanbei

        Oh, absolutely. The first extant alien life ever discovered? I'd love it if they found some.

        November 16, 2011 at 10:38 pm |
    • mickey1313

      Any life off earth throw christianity in the toilet, i hope they find it in my lifetime.

      November 17, 2011 at 12:05 am |
      • Ben G

        You have no idea what you are talking about.

        November 17, 2011 at 8:14 am |
      • Brian

        How? There's nothing in Christian doctrine (or any other major religion that I'm aware of) that says there's no life elsewhere in the Universe.

        November 17, 2011 at 8:38 am |
      • Bud

        I suppose you'd also expect Chevrolet to give you an Owner's Manual on a Buick also?

        November 17, 2011 at 5:38 pm |
      • dudley0415

        Why would it do this?

        I mean, I understand you have to stick to your guns – if you're wrong you'll probably have to go to hell.

        November 17, 2011 at 7:13 pm |
    • whoareyou?

      who says that life would form in the manner it has here? that it would be dependant on a physical body? or that it would be seperated from other life could easily be a "mind" that moves through matter using the conductivity of water for neurological prosseses. dependence on physical (and temprimantal) bodies could very well be unique to earth. this isn't a new idea, either. i'm only referencing Albert Einstien's theories and postulates on foriegn life.

      Just sayain'.

      November 17, 2011 at 2:01 pm |
      • cfarrow228


        November 17, 2011 at 6:33 pm |
      • brandon

        Sure, it COULD be some completely foreign type of life, but we have no reason to believe that it would be. They are interested in this spot as a possible place where life exists because it might be able to support life AS WE KNOW it. If you are going to speculate on life-forms that don't have physical bodies or some other non-sense, you have to provide some basis. We likely wouldn't recognize such life if it were right in front of us.

        November 17, 2011 at 6:37 pm |
    • Obwon

      We're pretty much always thinking of "life as we know it". Even though science is hinting that there are likely more possibilities. We find living tissues without dna, we find "extremophiles" etc., what we don't know is whether or not any other chemical element can replace carbon as a chaining link in other environmental situations like extreme cold, pressures or in oceans of other compounds. As a general rule we wait until the strange rears it's head by chance discovery, as opposed to searching for it in the lab very much. One thing I have seen is that life does chemistry differently than chemists do. It takes advantage of energy flows and catalysts, where the chemist relies on "dogged manipulation" a much less elegant style where the emphasis is on production as opposed to effect. Thus we have collected very little knowledge of the chemical/energy chaining that is a must for life. It is not enough, for the investigation of life, to simply produce a new molecule, because life doesn't do things that way. Any molecule life produces, must fit into it's energy/chain equation or it will be discarded. But since we know so little of what elements can create energy chains, we have little idea of what kinds of life are available. This is why we have so many "blind spots", that keep us focused on the kinds of life we are familiar with. Which, in turn, keeps us saying that no life will be found, in places where we find it thriving here on earth, let alone in the universe.

      In short, rigorous thinking serves us well, when we're dealing with things we're confronted with, but to discover the new paths for investigation, it needs to be loosened quite a bit. Even in science the old adage: "too much of a good thing is no good", proves true.

      December 6, 2011 at 2:56 am |
  19. tannim

    Actually, the unanswered question is this" what kind of liquid is in these oceans and lakes?" Ammonia? Liquid nitrogen? That sorta makes things complete and sets up an appropriate conversion dependency.

    November 16, 2011 at 9:32 pm |
    • binky42

      They believe that Europa has a liquid water ocean, mainly because the moon does have a slight atmosphere containing mostly oxygen.

      November 16, 2011 at 10:37 pm |
    • mickey1313

      Unlike Titian, which is mostly methane, Europa is water ice, H2O

      November 17, 2011 at 12:06 am |
  20. ~(_8(/)

    ...resistance is will be assimilated...

    November 16, 2011 at 9:19 pm |
    • @ ~(_8(/)

      When did homer simpson say that?

      November 17, 2011 at 3:15 pm |
    • dudley0415

      ...Landroo. "You are not of the body, you must be absorbed."

      Resistance is futile was last attributed to the Borg, yeah?

      November 17, 2011 at 7:15 pm |
  21. michael

    I always feel "there is no life" is not a accurate phrase to use here.
    i.e. from this article "A thick crust would be bad news for life because it would mean the ocean could never splash up on Europa’s shores to interact with possible sources of food needed to sustain life."
    It may sound absurd, but if we trace back to the base of our knowledge of knowing how life can be created, or I should say how human can be created or evolved, it's more like what will happened to the creation of lives(or human) on the earth. We don't know what happened in the Jupiter or other planets. We don't know there might be any other form of lives(which means not human) will exist or evolved in there own way.
    I know it's sounds crazy, but there perhaps do have lives on Jupiter. Well, bad news probably is that it's may not be human...

    November 16, 2011 at 9:11 pm |
    • mickey1313

      The hope is, that if life devlopes in a radical different course then life on earth, the challange will be to be able to reconize it as "alive"

      November 16, 2011 at 9:28 pm |
    • Andrew

      That is truly one of the dumbest comments I've ever read. Aside from the bad spelling and grammar, it is utterly incoherent and it ends with the amazing insight that life discovered on Jupiter "may not be human." Thanks, Carl Sagan.

      November 16, 2011 at 10:18 pm |
  22. RIckRoll

    Walmart already has plans for stores so don't get your hopes up.

    November 16, 2011 at 9:08 pm |
  23. thinkingperson

    We really need send robots there. Finding life outside Earth would be the greatest discovery ever made by humans!

    November 16, 2011 at 9:06 pm |
    • Richard

      We need to resurrect Project Orion (stop wasting time with ancient chemical rockets that get us no where) and GO to Saturn.

      November 16, 2011 at 10:08 pm |
      • MrWright62

        What exactly would be the reason for going to Saturn? We woudnt be able to land

        November 17, 2011 at 12:56 pm |
  24. Guest

    All these worlds are yours except Europa. Attempt no landing there.

    November 16, 2011 at 8:58 pm |
    • Dave

      LMAO! It's full of stars 🙂

      November 16, 2011 at 9:32 pm |
  25. hawaiiduude

    the israelis can move there and have there own world with no one to hate or kill except themselves.

    November 16, 2011 at 8:38 pm |
    • Fezzik

      Not cool, dude, not cool.

      November 16, 2011 at 8:46 pm |
    • jeffro

      People will always hate the Jews because they are the smartest group of humans on the planet.

      November 16, 2011 at 8:57 pm |
      • Steve

        If that were the case, they'd be in a way better situation then they are in today.

        November 16, 2011 at 9:12 pm |
      • mickey1313

        hahahahaha, NO. It is because they are the biggest crybabies on the planet, and they started the rediculous monothiesm religon.

        November 16, 2011 at 9:31 pm |
      • Belky

        Jeffro, if the Jews are so smart why is it that they wear such stupid hats. You would think such smart people would realize how silly they look by now and style it up a little, sheesh!

        November 17, 2011 at 1:42 am |
    • Juan Carlos de Burbon

      No shortages of morons on this planet.

      November 16, 2011 at 9:03 pm |
    • thinkingperson

      It must be bad to be stupid like you.

      November 16, 2011 at 9:04 pm |
    • mickey1313

      I think mercury is a better fit for them, get them ready for the hearafter. To your detractors, PISSPFF

      November 16, 2011 at 9:29 pm |
    • Belky

      Actually, I think that is the only reason and has always been the only reason anyone has ever even cared to find life on another planet.

      November 17, 2011 at 1:36 am |
  26. Metalloid

    Science is and always will be great, but many of you people will remain perpetually hopeless. The hypocrisy from most of your mouths when you foolishly scrutinize people's random comments and attribute their opinion to ignorance, lack of education, or idiocy is a pathetic, weak attempt at a straw man. Who cares what direction the damn Mississippi River flows in because the chemical imbalances in your brains' flow in is corrupt and malignant. Such insolence and boldness behind the screen of your computers, you'd do best to be humble.

    November 16, 2011 at 8:32 pm |
    • Calm down

      Calm down bro. Science is great. That can be both good and bad. I bet you attack everyone who attacks science. Science should be more scrutinized than religion because Science is actually capable of changing the world into a better place. But it can also destroy us too.

      November 16, 2011 at 8:40 pm |
      • Dave

        You don't think religion is capable of destroying us all?

        November 16, 2011 at 8:47 pm |
      • The Loon

        @Dave...what invented nuclear weapons? Science or Religion?

        November 16, 2011 at 9:03 pm |
      • Fezzik

        @The Loon, yes, but most wars are fought over religion or land. Religion has the same capacity to destroy, but in a different way.

        November 16, 2011 at 9:17 pm |
      • mickey1313

        in the past 2000 year WAY WAY WAY more people have died from thiestic reasons then any other non-natural cause of death. Science can help or hinder mankind. Thiesm can only distroy, it has no capasity for help, because it was writen and created by man to devide mankind.

        November 16, 2011 at 9:34 pm |
      • Oakspar

        Humans killing humans is a "natural form of death." Just as natural as a bacteria, gravity, or a lion doing it.

        The idea that anything humans do, including nuclear weapons, war, and religion is NOT NATURAL is saying that humans are not a fully functional part of nature, making us at least part super-nature (a rather common theistic arguement).

        So, either you are a theist, whether you admit to it or not, or else there can be no ethics – since without an outside moral force, there is only natural force and whatever we do IS natural force.

        November 17, 2011 at 8:36 am |
    • Allan

      Mettaloid...could you use smaller words.

      November 16, 2011 at 8:57 pm |
    • Buzz

      Metalloid you seem to be highly educated in science type stuff . Is there a ring around Uranus?

      November 16, 2011 at 9:04 pm |
      • tannim

        How about Kingons? 😀

        November 16, 2011 at 9:30 pm |
    • mickey1313

      MET, ps, thru your use of the term "straman" you seem not to know what that actually means, because it does not aply to this argument.

      November 16, 2011 at 9:36 pm |
    • Belky

      Metalloid with such a fuzzy buffer zone, do even remember to put your pants on before you leave your house? Stop defending science to people with lose cells!

      November 17, 2011 at 1:50 am |
    • That Guy

      "The hypocrisy from most of your mouths when you foolishly scrutinize people's random comments and attribute their opinion to ignorance, lack of education, or idiocy is a pathetic, weak attempt at a straw man. Who cares what direction the damn Mississippi River flows in because the chemical imbalances in your brains' flow in is corrupt and malignant. Such insolence and boldness behind the screen of your computers, you'd do best to be humble."

      Uh, aren't you doing the same?

      November 17, 2011 at 6:55 pm |
  27. Fezzik

    I'm currently going to school to be a microbiologist. Maybe, just maybe by the time I graduate, NASA will have worked something out to collect samples from Europa. I would so love to be one of the people who gets to look at the bacteria that may just live there! That would be so exciting! Just wishful thinking though.

    November 16, 2011 at 8:23 pm |
    • Tom

      Work hard and network. You have the goal, that's 50% of the battle.

      November 16, 2011 at 8:57 pm |
    • Freygunnr

      How exciting for you! I'm jealous. I have a friend who is a biologist for the USDA working on hybrids. She's always bragging about something cool she's working on 🙂 Scientific careers will never cease to be "on the frontier" and full of discovery. Good luck to you.

      November 16, 2011 at 9:25 pm |
  28. matinee

    Hmmm..Science indeed,our fore-fathers called it"magic" we call it amazing science.Thumbs up for the explorer!

    November 16, 2011 at 8:15 pm |
    • Chkr

      Now all we need is and administration that believes enough in space and science to properly fund NASA.

      Unfortunately, our current administration is not.

      November 16, 2011 at 8:22 pm |
      • Jeffrey Root

        Neither did the last.

        November 16, 2011 at 9:04 pm |
      • David

        You are incorrect and it's incredibly frustrating.

        Bush ended the shuttle program in 2004 – it took several years for it to dial down because missions are planned years in advance.

        Obama simply followed what was already in progress. He wants to focus on sending a manned mission to an asteroid and then to mars – they want this happen sometime in the next 15 years. That to me is not giving up.

        November 16, 2011 at 9:31 pm |
      • mickey1313

        maybe after we pay off the 10 years of 2 illigal bush wars we will be able to aford space again, but if we leave the rich untaxed then we will never go back to space. The tax rate for the upper 1% in the 50's 60's and 70's was 80%, how do you think we paied for NASA, and our highway system

        November 16, 2011 at 10:06 pm |
    • Observer


      The termination of the shuttle program was aurhorized by George W. Bush on January 14, 2004.

      Don't let facts get in the way. Who should be the happiest about it? The Republicans who want spending cut.

      November 16, 2011 at 8:59 pm |
  29. Terry Brookman

    Europa might have life forms and it would be a very good thing if we put a probe in orbit around it. I have always thought there were advanced civilizations here, the moon and mars. There is evidence here and on those places, NASA covers it up but some pictures get leaked and they are proof for certain, old legends report of advanced civilizations here and some indicate we are a hybrid genetically altered (the missing link) it is contrary to what the church taught but I don't see a conflict in the basic data. In fact is I believe that we live in a huge terrarium and the Christ was the desired product that brought a end to the experiment, we have lived now for two thousand years under grace but this reality is going to be restructured and soon. Christ said, I have not come to bring peace to the world I have brought a sword into the world.

    November 16, 2011 at 8:13 pm |
    • CVS

      Hi, it's CVS pharmacy, your meds are ready...

      November 16, 2011 at 9:10 pm |
    • Freygunnr

      Nope! No advanced civilization here.

      November 16, 2011 at 9:31 pm |
    • Mabel

      And Elvis works at a Best Buy in Sheboygan.

      November 16, 2011 at 9:53 pm |
    • you're joking, right?

      You can't really believe that. If you truly believe that, please get professional help ASAP.

      November 16, 2011 at 11:15 pm |
  30. jeff

    Water is abundant everywhere in the universe. There are actual black holes and quasars that have water vaper that if you combined the water vaper together...would span over a million earth oceans.

    I am starting to believe that our universe has more water in it..than dry spots.

    November 16, 2011 at 8:09 pm |
  31. madeinusa76

    NASA should forget about Jupiter and just send one big probe to Uranus!

    November 16, 2011 at 8:04 pm |
  32. LuisWu

    To detect life on Europa, they wouldn't actually have to get a probe through the ice into the oceans or lakes. There are huge cracks in the ice that run for hundreds of miles. Dark material (thought to be organic) fills a lot of those cracks and has spilled out onto the surface. Scientists believe it's caused by "upwelling" from the liquid below when a new crack forms. All that would be required is to land a probe in one of those cracks or just beside it and get samples of that organic material. Any cellular life would be easy to spot, organisms with shells would be even easier. So no need to spend billions on drilling down to the water, it comes up to the surface through these cracks and the frozen result could be studied.

    November 16, 2011 at 7:59 pm |
  33. Ja-Coffalotte

    They're probably getting a similar news article about us on Earth.

    November 16, 2011 at 7:58 pm |
    • TonyBaloney

      Europa has been monitoring our TV and Radio signals for years....and they are still waiting for signs of intelligent life.

      November 16, 2011 at 8:31 pm |
  34. Nick

    The Nasa and a Men-Made need to grow the fuc-ed up and we should "NOT" even go there in space and it all belong to "GOD" and all Men-Made can say whatever they want but don't know sh-t by mouth and for who have done this about going to space like landing on Mars, Moon and other all "Men-Made will be punishment by "GOD" they ruin up there for no reason and we should not need to know what up there it because no "AIR" and "GOD" gave us only this planet where we are to keep breathing air, water, soil, and fire, and much more,, Men-Made had no right to go there so fuc- them and i don't agreed them by saying!

    November 16, 2011 at 7:56 pm |
    • horsesmouth

      Can you translate that into English for me? Thanks man.

      November 16, 2011 at 7:59 pm |
    • lolwut

      i really, really hope this is a troll. if not, you are an absolute hinderance to mankind's scientific progress and deserve nothing but disdain.

      November 16, 2011 at 8:03 pm |
    • caw

      Looks like your God has already destroyed your mind. Go take your meds...

      November 16, 2011 at 8:04 pm |
    • Bob

      Please check yourself into a mental institution before you seriously hurt yourself.

      November 16, 2011 at 8:06 pm |
    • mike

      Wow. I'm almost speechless.

      This guy is an adult, walking around, with access to a computer, and probably votes.


      November 16, 2011 at 8:07 pm |
      • mobetta

        even worse, he may (shudder) procreate....

        November 16, 2011 at 9:24 pm |
    • sean

      Hey! That's just what I said!

      November 16, 2011 at 8:09 pm |
    • jason

      Huh? what? I think that guy has been smoking weed and watching Bill Nye the science guy a little too much!

      November 16, 2011 at 8:10 pm |
    • tree

      I can't understand what you are saying, but I believe that you are saying that we shouldn't be exploring space because of your god. Welll you can just sit here and live with ignorrance if you like. If you are right, then we will be judged, but I have yet to see one logiacl reason why we shouldn't be exploring space.

      November 16, 2011 at 8:20 pm |
    • Tristan

      That was literally the dumbest thing i have ever read. Do you ever contemplate what your about to say? Honestly you should never ever comment on something again. I'm not trying to hate, but come on man, your making dudes look bad.

      November 16, 2011 at 8:30 pm |
    • God, Heaven, Limbo Adjacent

      Nick- Please, in my name stop the drinking and the pain meds. You're giving me a headache. It was funny at first with the foaming at the mouth, but now you're just embarrassing. And please- stop praying or invoking my name in the middle of the night. I've got a universe to regulate. You're worse than Jesus with his texting at all hours.

      November 16, 2011 at 8:31 pm |
    • Humanist

      We shouldn't be so hard on Nick. You, too, would have a hard time seeing the reality of things, if your head was as far inside your rectum as his appears to be.

      November 16, 2011 at 8:37 pm |
      • you're joking, right?

        Rectum? You mean, Uranus.

        November 16, 2011 at 11:24 pm |
    • The Loon

      c'mon guys Nick makes a good poi.....I mean he makes a poi.....he wrote some wor.....ok he slapped the keyboard for a minute and this is what we got but at least he's trying

      November 16, 2011 at 9:06 pm |
    • Gordon

      Didn't God say be fruitful GO FORTH and multiply. That's what space is about, the Going Forth.

      The meek shall inherit the earth, the bold are going to space.

      November 16, 2011 at 9:07 pm |
    • Freygunnr

      WHY do you hate English man? Hater.

      November 16, 2011 at 9:36 pm |
    • Nick H.

      Ok. you say that 'God' says we shouldn't venture into the realm of the inknown? You really think he wants us to wallow in mud our whole lives till we die? You need medication. Oh and you need to go to high school again, how you got through English class we will never know. Oh, and can everyone stop making comments about 'God'? I do not believe in it. People say that I should but really? You expect me to believe in a massive supernatural being that created the world and life and has influence among us humans? Sounds more like a butt load of $hit to me. In fact, this is exactly what aliens would be able to do. How could 'God' have always been alive? every little speck of life started at one point. Anyways my point is that you are f*cked up and need to go to the mental hospital.

      November 16, 2011 at 10:13 pm |
    • mickey1313

      even if you wernt spouting giberish, the fact that I can pull "god" and "punish" out of you drool, means that you are an ignorant thiest so why are you i the science discourse. Your feeble minded thiests can not underastand science so go back to reading your poorly writen snuff pulp aka bible.

      November 16, 2011 at 10:16 pm |
    • Neil

      Oh My GOD!!

      November 17, 2011 at 12:40 pm |
  35. J.P.

    If someone were to visit Uranus, what might they find?

    November 16, 2011 at 7:49 pm |
    • horsesmouth

      Well, a whole bunch of $h!!

      November 16, 2011 at 8:00 pm |
    • sonic10158

      they will find the pygmies from that iPad app, Pocket God Journey to Uranus

      November 16, 2011 at 8:05 pm |
    • sean

      Klingons. Everyone knows there are Klingons on Uranus.

      November 16, 2011 at 8:11 pm |
    • Jay H

      A bunch of crap

      November 16, 2011 at 9:42 pm |


    November 16, 2011 at 7:43 pm |
    • Eric

      Get out much?

      November 16, 2011 at 7:45 pm |
    • CJA

      I agree, liquid water on Jupiter would be unlikely. But the article was talking about Europa, not Jupiter

      November 16, 2011 at 7:53 pm |
    • WoW!

      Wow, get off the meds! Or on them!

      November 16, 2011 at 7:53 pm |
    • username1

      grammar anyone?

      November 16, 2011 at 7:57 pm |
    • horsesmouth

      Who put a computer inside your cage?

      November 16, 2011 at 8:03 pm |
    • mike

      Hey, look up in the comments! Your buddy Nick is here! You guys should get together and put that combined 1.5 brain cell count to good use...

      on second thought, perhaps you should just concentrate on not soiling yourselves and wait patiently until finger painting hour. weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

      November 16, 2011 at 8:12 pm |
    • An alien

      You better take some grammar lessons, before you write such idiotic remarks.

      November 16, 2011 at 9:22 pm |
    • mickey1313

      hay ignorant turdball, man created god not the other way around.

      November 17, 2011 at 12:12 am |
  37. My name is Khan

    NASA Should try to concentrate on Earth rather than worrying about life in other planets etc, There is no value of life in this world already, People are dieing everyday in some stupid wars posed by greedy governments for Oil, Power & Wealth.

    If living here can be done better, lets invest our money in making peoples life's better, getting them Jobs, Food, Shelter etc.

    November 16, 2011 at 7:39 pm |
    • Eric

      You won't be saying that once the Europeans attack and NASA had warned us.

      November 16, 2011 at 7:45 pm |
    • CJA

      Don't worry, there are many people. Some can work on one project and others on another. In other words, it is possible to do both

      November 16, 2011 at 7:56 pm |
    • WoW!

      You are so right! The "National Aeronautics and Space Administration" or NASA should concentrate on Earthly problems since that's what it does right? I mean, look at it, it's right there in the name! Oh wait a minute! That says AERONAUTICS and SPACE not EARTH! While your at it, why don't you yell at the Dep't of Transportation for not doing enough for the EPA? And on and on and on with the idiocy!

      November 16, 2011 at 7:58 pm |
      • you're joking, right?

        No, not a bad idea. NASA should send an unmanned probe to the planet earth. See if there's any intelligent life.

        November 16, 2011 at 11:28 pm |
    • No

      Man would never have the ability to discover new things and advance in science if we were always worrying about what is going on at home. People die...that will never change.

      November 16, 2011 at 8:02 pm |
    • Chkr

      I'm too tired to reply in depth.

      Look at your microwave, cell phone, CAT Scan, and DNA research for your answer.

      They are all a result of the necessary science and engineering required for space exploration.

      November 16, 2011 at 8:27 pm |
      • Sam

        Right and no one would have ever developed it for us to communicate, fight cancer, etc. The only way technology comes about is because of space exploration right??

        The truth is these technologies would have been developed either way, because new technology comes about to solve problems, whether that problem is getting to the moon or saving people from cancer.

        November 16, 2011 at 8:56 pm |
    • Jeffrey Root

      If a giant meteor is on a collision course for Earth, there will be no humans left to take care of. Let NASA do the job they were designed to do. They have advanced space technologies that have allowed us to live better on Earth. What better way to test these technologies for living in the harshest of environments, space and other worlds.

      November 16, 2011 at 9:09 pm |
  38. PDXSerric

    The only concern I have with finding life anywhere is mankind's long-standing history of death and destruction.

    November 16, 2011 at 7:18 pm |
  39. Geography Major

    Kevin you idiot. The Mississippi river actually flows in the complete opposite direction towards the gulf. If your not sure, do a little research before you post stupid comments.

    November 16, 2011 at 7:10 pm |
    • Eric

      Sorry, but I think he was referring to something like the asian carp, which is moving up river and headed for Lake Michigan. Maybe you better be the think before you make some stupid comment.

      November 16, 2011 at 7:31 pm |
    • allan

      You would think that a geography major might know that things can go upstream..

      November 16, 2011 at 7:56 pm |
  40. spoo

    well, the boom in electronics came as a result of the space programs in the 1960s....keep saying that space research in useless.....maybe for the ignorant conservative teabagers....for normal people it is actually cool...

    November 16, 2011 at 7:01 pm |
    • PDXSerric

      Not to mention the space program is currently looking into mining operations targeting the greater asteroid belt separating the inner planets from the outer, since they are rich in minerals and raw ores that are quickly becoming rare here on Earth.

      November 16, 2011 at 7:05 pm |
    • ummm

      I concur!-if it were up to some of these conservatives, we would still be using candles for light.

      November 16, 2011 at 7:08 pm |
    • jsfortner

      These types of false stereotypes are what divides the nation. I am conservative, and I am absolutely intrigued by space exploration and finding life on other planets. It has absolutely nothing to do with being conservative.

      November 16, 2011 at 7:08 pm |
      • PDXSerric

        That's true. We should not look at the word 'conservative' and instantly cringe. Right-wing nutjobs, on the other hand, posing themselves as 'conservatives' we should be very afraid of. As equally afraid, I would say, as the ultra-left whack-o's trying to hide under the liberal title. Regardless of how they try to appear, the fringe will always be the fringe.

        If we set the politics aside and just talk... from a centrist point of view... we can accomplish ANYTHING. I wish someone would teach our elected leaders this lesson.

        November 16, 2011 at 7:13 pm |
      • mickey1313

        If you vote R, then weather you are for or against space travel, you vote against all funding for it, it is that simple.

        November 17, 2011 at 12:18 am |
    • of course this would be political...

      Wow, REALLY? Way to go making a story political when it doesn't need to be. And just since you brought it up, Obama cut the funding for NASA, not the tea PARTY, and a "teabag" is something TOTALLY different (and quite inappropriate for an online comment).

      November 16, 2011 at 7:10 pm |
      • mickey1313


        Bush ended funding for the shuttle in 2004, then the republicans slammed Obama for no "undoing" bushes cuts. They are all spineless POS's

        November 17, 2011 at 12:21 am |
    • CJA

      I think it was the other way around. Various space projects used the technology that was available at the time. Progress in electronics was market driven mostly. That said I think there are other good reasons to explore space and I'd like to see more. But "spin offs" is not one of the reasons

      November 16, 2011 at 8:00 pm |
  41. Arthur Clark

    Is it true there is a ring around Uranus?

    November 16, 2011 at 7:00 pm |
    • Thezel

      there are rings around all the giant gas planets. including uranus

      November 16, 2011 at 7:05 pm |
      • PDXSerric

        I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure he was making a joke...

        November 16, 2011 at 7:06 pm |
  42. jerryc

    Jupiter's smallest moon? I can see Europa with my binoculars.

    November 16, 2011 at 6:53 pm |
    • Thezel

      they must have meant the smallest Galilean moon.. either that or the reporter's an idiot

      November 16, 2011 at 7:04 pm |
    • mickey1313

      "smallest Galilean moon" READ BEFORE SPEAK

      November 17, 2011 at 12:23 am |
  43. kevin

    Who gives a rata ass if there is life on this moon. The ice is thick because it's cold there. Perhaps if fools go there and find life, they can bring it back to Earth put it in the Mississippi and study how long it takes to get to Lake Michigan. What may be a better idea is... stop pissing away tax payer money on frozen moons that orbit Jupiter and find a cure for something that will help man.

    November 16, 2011 at 6:50 pm |
    • PDXSerric

      You idiot. The discovery of life-bearing extraterrestrial planets and moons IS helping man. Especially since the breeders on this planet won't seemingly be satisfied unless our population exceeds a critical point to where life on THIS planet can no longer be sustained.

      November 16, 2011 at 7:03 pm |
      • mickey1313

        Agreed, it is funny that it is folks with 4+ childeren whineing about NASA wasteing tax money, they should worry about the fact that a family of 6 (4 kids 2 parents) steals an entire families worth of national resorces for there gloutny. Anyone with more then 2 kids needs to be steirleized.

        November 17, 2011 at 12:26 am |
    • Geography Major

      Uhh Kevin. I hate to break it to you but the Mississippi river does not flow to Lake Michigan. It actually flows in the complete opposite direction to the Gulf. Idiot

      November 16, 2011 at 7:05 pm |
      • mickey1313

        FAIL, asian carp travel upstream so do some form of lamprys that are killing the native fish.

        November 17, 2011 at 12:27 am |
    • ummm

      Typical conservative tea-bagging fail..

      November 16, 2011 at 7:10 pm |
    • Adrew

      Obviously your not an asset to man either.

      November 16, 2011 at 7:15 pm |
    • TisJustMe

      "Who gives a rata ass if there is life on this moon."

      Only those with at least a modicum of intellect and curiosity.

      "The ice is thick because it's cold there."

      Gee, do ya think?

      "Perhaps if fools go there and find life, they can bring it back to Earth put it in the Mississippi and study how long it takes to get to Lake Michigan."

      Better yet, the researchers can dump fools in the Mississippi and see how long it takes them to drown. Care to volunteer?

      "What may be a better idea is... stop pissing away tax payer money on frozen moons that orbit Jupiter and find a cure for something that will help man."

      And throw all those people in the aerospace industry out of work? Better to have them working and advancing our technological prowess instead of sitting around and whining like a little kid.

      November 16, 2011 at 7:18 pm |
    • dwerbil

      Kevin said....
      "....find a cure for something that will help man."

      Kevin, looks like you missed out on one cure that will help man - it's called 'Getting Yourself an EDUCATION'.

      November 16, 2011 at 7:41 pm |
    • CJA

      NASA's entire budger amounts to 1/2 of one percent of the budget. and most of what NASA does is NOT at Jupitor. The money we are taking about here is on a par with what it takes to shoot a Hollywood movie. As a nation we spent more on ring tones for our cell phones, if you want to talk about waste

      November 16, 2011 at 8:06 pm |
      • BPollutin

        Well said my friend…well said! I wish we all had a similar perspective!

        November 16, 2011 at 8:19 pm |
      • dwerbil

        Cheers to you, CJA!

        November 16, 2011 at 8:23 pm |
    • Gordon

      I appreciate your concern. But there is far more energy and far more resources in space than here on earth. Since day one, people have wandered. Curing diseases and going into space are not mutually exclusive.

      November 16, 2011 at 9:24 pm |
  44. lefty avenger

    This is very cool though Europa is not Jupiter's smallest moons, it is one of the larger ones!

    November 16, 2011 at 6:48 pm |
    • mickey1313

      Ignorance is what makes us on the left apear weak. It said smallest Galilean moons eg smallest of the moons YOU CAN SEE WITH A HAND TELESCOPE.

      November 17, 2011 at 12:31 am |
  45. beubanks7507

    All of you are missing the mark. This is not about life on europa. If it is there, it would be likely be something akin to amoebas or, at the best, slime mold. This is about determining the conditions life needs to exist in general. As far as the temperature issue goes, experiments have just been published that show that chemistry can happen very rapidly at ultra low temperatures ( and the core of Europa is thought to be possibly molten. So there is probably a narrow band of what we would call "habitable temperatures" to begin with. While there may be more pressing issues right now, we can't afford to ignore this. We are depleting our planet at an ever increasing rate and may need somewhere else to go.

    November 16, 2011 at 6:18 pm |
    • Guest

      Slime mold eh?
      So its full of lawyers?

      November 16, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
      • MaryM

        lol guest

        November 16, 2011 at 7:11 pm |
      • Jon

        Yes, that's where they go when they finally die.

        November 16, 2011 at 7:46 pm |
    • Scones

      "May need to go somewhere else to go" I personally think we MUST expand into space sooner or later. Humans breed like cockroaches. You can't live in a free country and tell people to not have kids. Can't just... get rid of some existing people either. Earth is only so big, but man's appetite is insatiable. Eventually, we have to expand or like any other life form our numbers will cause a decline. That is one of the primary reasons I support space agencies around the globe. If space isn't our future, I fear for our decendents

      November 16, 2011 at 7:35 pm |
      • Hadenufyet

        Wars and mass annihilation over limited resources will be the norm for the foreseeable future.

        November 16, 2011 at 7:59 pm |
      • Terry Brookman

        I agree about planetary exploration as to it's being a necessity for the future. We should have a base on the moon with a mag lev launcher to send bot's out for mining and other things. We live in a huge salvage yard, gases, metal and other things we need here. we could put factory's in the neutral point between us and the moon and do all heavy metals manufacturing there. that would do away with huge pollution producers. The moon has huge amounts of titanium 17% of the crust is titanium, there huge amounts of metals in the asteroid belt, trillions of tons. The benefits far out weigh the cost in the long run, all we need to do is stop fighting over the meager amounts of stuff here or about who god is and we could turn it all around but it would take all of us, every nation to do it. Our leaders are so greedy and short sighted.

        November 16, 2011 at 8:32 pm |
      • mickey1313

        It is right wing thinkers like that who believe that it is unethical to put population controls in place that need to be removed from the system.
        1st) IQ test for voteing
        2nd)mandatory sterilazation on 2nd child
        3rd) to get any service at all for anything in the country YOU MUST HAVE A FEDERAL ID
        4th) ban all trade with any nation who refuses to adopt these principles.

        Overpopulation solved in 4 steps,

        November 17, 2011 at 12:36 am |
  46. Bryan

    Europa is NOT Jupiter's smallest moon. Who writes these articles? Europa is the smallest of the 4 Galilean moons, but that leaves about 45+ moons that are smaller than Europa.

    November 16, 2011 at 6:17 pm |
  47. Wookie0

    Jupiter’s smallest moon is Adrastea!

    November 16, 2011 at 6:11 pm |
    • Felipe

      Wrong again, Jupiters smallest moon could be any of several: perhaps S/2003 J12 or probably a yet to be discovered one.

      November 16, 2011 at 6:42 pm |
  48. Nobody

    Fact check: Europa is nowhere near Jupiter's smallest moon. It's just the smallest of the Galileans, which are the planet's four largest.

    November 16, 2011 at 6:08 pm |
  49. SteveOfTX

    Science never gives us anything beneficial, this is a complete waste of money. If they really want to do good, instead of going to Jupiter give the job creators (the top 5%) a bigger tax cut so they can hire more people and fix the economy.

    November 16, 2011 at 6:08 pm |
    • ThePTB

      You, sir, are a fucking moron.

      November 16, 2011 at 6:14 pm |
      • MOOZ


        November 16, 2011 at 6:20 pm |
      • Hoofleau

        Someone should wash your filthy mouth out with soap. Ignorant and classless.

        November 16, 2011 at 7:13 pm |
      • ...

        100% agree with ThePTB

        November 16, 2011 at 7:58 pm |
      • mickey1313

        your detractors are all fools, I comend you for standing up to the ultra greed of the top 5%. Everyone on earth who make more then a million a year, who is not activally engaged in bettering the world, is a worthless greedy self entitled prick, and needs to burn in a pyre like the times of the french revilution.

        November 17, 2011 at 12:43 am |
    • Leaf on the Wind

      Science nevers gives us anything beneficial? Really? Wow. Such a stunning display of pure ignorance.

      November 16, 2011 at 6:14 pm |
    • Jim

      It's hard to tell if you are being sarcastic or not. I hope so.

      November 16, 2011 at 6:15 pm |
    • Yossarian

      Throw away your computer, then. Science is why you have it, lugnut.

      November 16, 2011 at 6:15 pm |
    • Dutch railroader

      Science has given us modern technology and medicine to name two things...

      November 16, 2011 at 6:17 pm |
    • BCO

      ...He says as he types on his computer, and sends over the Internet, via RADIO

      November 16, 2011 at 6:19 pm |
    • fortunate

      Really? Nothing beneficial? And did you write that great news with a stick on a clay tablet?
      Or computers, smartphones and Internet are products of the natural processes?
      Sometimes it is good to use your brain, even if you hate science.

      November 16, 2011 at 6:19 pm |
    • phearis

      You're 100% right SteveOfTX, The space program is a giant waste of money. What has it given us besides Medical Imaging, Satellite TV, Fire Fighting Equipment, Sun Glasses, The Smoke Detector, Thermal Gloves and Boots, Shock Absorbing Helmets, Invisible Braces, Velcro, Advanced Plastics, Joystick Controllers, The Modern Flashlight, Enriched Baby Food, Protective and Heat Resistant Paint, Cardiac Pacemakers, Scratch-Resistant Glasses, Heat Resistant Ceramics and Cordless Tools. Yeah, the space program has done NOTHING to help us. And I'm sure you've NEVER used any of those things. *rolls eyes*

      November 16, 2011 at 6:20 pm |
    • BCO

      ...He says as he types on his ELECTRONIC COMPUTER, and sends over the INTERNET, via RADIO waves and TELEVISION or TELEPHONE lines, all of which use ELECTRICITY.

      November 16, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
    • vmprophet

      Congrats on the dumbest comment of the year, probably the past 2 years. "Science never gives us anything useful" How dumb is that comment really? I could point to the obvious: Medicine, technology, but that would just be too damn obvious. Just Dumbassness

      November 16, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
    • JC

      Science gave you internet to communicate..... idiot.
      Go and use a dictionary to look work meaning of Science.
      Your parents have sucked in your brain development.

      November 16, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
    • McCann

      LOL!! What do you expect? The guy is from Texas.

      November 16, 2011 at 6:28 pm |
      • ThatOneGuyWithTheThing

        That makes me think of spongebob

        November 16, 2011 at 7:30 pm |
      • barackobama

        Yea, Texas lacks ANYTHING of scientific the Manned Spacecraft Center in Houston. Wise up.

        November 16, 2011 at 7:59 pm |
      • ...

        I'm from Texas, but not a jackass...

        "Wish I was back in Texas, the ocean's no place for a squirrel" LMAO! (Spongebob is awesome)

        November 16, 2011 at 8:00 pm |
    • Bud White

      Obviously you are a tea party neanderthal Republican.

      November 16, 2011 at 6:32 pm |
    • spacenutz

      Troll attempt gets a 0/10 but it seems the people here can't figure that out

      November 16, 2011 at 6:37 pm |
    • Tonelok

      Can't tell if troll, or stupid.

      November 16, 2011 at 6:39 pm |
      • Leaf on the Wind

        My guess would be both.

        November 16, 2011 at 6:42 pm |
      • spacenutz

        obvious troll is obvious

        November 16, 2011 at 6:43 pm |
    • C-dog

      All the commenters after this comment are complete and utter morons. The sarcasm of the original comment couldn't be more obvious if it was duct taped to a 2×4 and used to hit them all over the head.

      November 16, 2011 at 6:47 pm |
      • C-dog

        Repeatedly over the head.

        November 16, 2011 at 6:54 pm |
      • Shannon

        Take it easy, they wouldn't be the first to be fooled by well-done satire.

        November 16, 2011 at 7:03 pm |
      • Shannon

        Besides, this guy's comments aren't much different from the genuine stupidity out there.

        November 16, 2011 at 7:04 pm |
    • Harvey

      You must look up to pine trees as your mentors. So much for just about everything you touch or use in this world; science has been involved one way or another ever since man harnessed fire.

      November 16, 2011 at 6:47 pm |
    • Shannon

      Methinks he's being satirical 😉

      November 16, 2011 at 6:59 pm |
    • Thezel

      of TX, eh!!! surpise everyone!!! the dude from Texas thinks science is useless..

      November 16, 2011 at 7:08 pm |
    • PDXSerric

      Is it possible (dear God let it be possible) that SteveOfTX is being purposefully ironic or tongue-in-cheek? Or that, perhaps, he is making fun of Texans?

      Just food for thought.

      November 16, 2011 at 7:10 pm |
  50. Brooklyn Boy

    Good article but a slight correction is needed here.
    Europa is NOT the smallest moon of Jupiter. There are scores of moons in the Jovian system and many of the little ones weren't discovered until spacecraft got close to the planet. But the four largest moons (referred to as the Galilean moons because Galileo discovered them in 1610) are Io, Europa, Callisto and Ganymede. I think that what the author meant to say was that Europa is the smallest of Jupiter's Galilean moons. Hell – knowing that might just make youi some money on Jeopardy one day!

    November 16, 2011 at 6:06 pm |
    • mickey1313

      Um, the very first line says it is the smallest Galilean moon, how is no one seeing that?

      November 17, 2011 at 12:50 am |
  51. Required

    How is this news? CNN FAIL. I hate you cnn you suck. If you want real science news, head to

    November 16, 2011 at 6:01 pm |
    • MikeC

      ScienceDaily is good; in fact their top story today is the lakes on Europa;

      November 16, 2011 at 6:14 pm |
      • spacenutz


        November 16, 2011 at 6:38 pm |
      • mickey1313


        November 17, 2011 at 12:52 am |
    • Carl

      Sciencedaily is a POS. They run press releases word-for-word as if they were vetted news articles.

      November 16, 2011 at 7:06 pm |

      Your a dumbass if you hate cnn so much why are you on the website of cnn seriously....retard

      November 16, 2011 at 8:08 pm |
  52. Jimmy Memphis

    Lets Hope we can Fix things like hunger, war and the economy to get people back to work on Earth. Then worry about the micobe's on any of the other planets or moons. Science has progessed expotentially in the last decade, lets use it for the better of mankind. Keep NASA running but lets get going on the problems here on earth. thanks for reading.

    November 16, 2011 at 6:01 pm |
    • Brooklyn Boy

      I disagree.
      Do you really think that shutting down our planetary exploration program would automatically translate into all those ills you just enumerated. Besides, how do you know that a mission to Europa wouldn't provide knowlesge that might help solve some of those problems? There are always going to be problems. The world will never be perfect enough but that's no reason to stop exploring. In fact, I think it's a good argument for an even more elaborate exploration effort.

      November 16, 2011 at 6:10 pm |
    • JC

      Things on Earth would never fix and you don't even know how. Space research is very important. It not only makes us better understand about the Cosmos but numerous other things like MRI Scan, Heart Pumps etc.... are result of space research.
      Space research is the most important thing and since you couldn't even suggest one solution, what have you personally done to fix the problems. If you can't make an effort, don't tell others whats important or not.

      November 16, 2011 at 6:12 pm |
    • Jim

      Yawn. It's like the rising of the sun: every time there is news about space exploration, some yahoo says we should spend the money to fix problems on Earth.

      Why don't you rant against video games? Americans spent $19 billion on video games in 201 – that's the same as NASA's entire budget. The military spends more than that on air conditioning!

      November 16, 2011 at 6:13 pm |


      November 16, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
    • Leaf on the Wind

      If you think we can fix hunger, war, and the economy with the paltry amount of the national budget that goes to NASA, there's this bridge I'd like to sell you . . .

      November 16, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
    • mike

      Exploration is what makes life worth living. If all we did was worry about our problems 24/7, we'd be a mopey bunch indeed.

      November 16, 2011 at 6:36 pm |
    • SixDegrees

      NASA's entire budget is a small fraction of one percent of the total Federal budget. The total amount of money NASA spends in a year would fund social programs like Medicare or Social Security for a few hours, at best.

      Not to mention that the money spent on NASA is spent right here on earth, and mostly in the United States, providing direct employment and indirect stimulus to thousands.

      November 16, 2011 at 6:42 pm |
  53. Moe Smith

    ICE IS NICE!!!

    November 16, 2011 at 5:55 pm |
    • Leaf on the Wind

      I love that movie. "Would you classify that as a design problem, or a launch problem?"

      November 16, 2011 at 6:26 pm |
  54. KORBEK


    November 16, 2011 at 5:55 pm |
    • C-Dawg


      November 16, 2011 at 6:04 pm |
    • Mitchel

      THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!

      November 16, 2011 at 6:05 pm |
    • Monolith

      I was waiting for someone to chime in with a 2010 movie reference

      November 16, 2011 at 6:16 pm |
    • HAL 9000

      It's good to be working with you again, Dave.

      November 16, 2011 at 6:17 pm |
    • Seraphim0

      Now we just need to stay true and go there anyway.

      November 16, 2011 at 7:13 pm |
    • MaryM

      2001 space

      November 16, 2011 at 7:16 pm |
    • Heywood Floyd

      EPIC WIN!

      November 16, 2011 at 8:33 pm |
  55. MrHanson

    Life is so simple. Just add water, a few amino acids, time, and a lucky accident and boom! Fully replicating cells, complete with DNA translation, error correction, molecular motors, machinery for protein folding, etc.... I have faith that they will find life on Europa. I know its a fundamentally strong faith, but I have faith.

    November 16, 2011 at 5:52 pm |
    • CelticHunter7

      That 'accident' wasn't lucky, and that 'fundamentally strong faith' you have is what is known as 'GOD'.

      November 17, 2011 at 2:10 am |
  56. Tom

    The surface temperature of Europa ranges from -270 to -350F, not likely to stay there long. The radiation is harsh too, nearly fatal levels daily. No need to waste money on manned exploration of Europa for this century anyway.

    November 16, 2011 at 5:51 pm |
    • Jim Rousch

      We didn't invest in the Moon mission because we needed to. We invested in the Moon mission because we were curious about it. Evidently, you lack such curiosity.

      Let's do it!

      November 16, 2011 at 6:08 pm |
    • wes

      thats NOT true. if you go deep enough under the ice the radiation is normal. another thing is jupiters massive gravity is always pulling and tugging on europa creating friction. thats why the surface is so cracked and split open. as for food for the life, on earth deep water life survives on underwater vents. with that kind of gravity ripping little europa that moon must have lots of heat. try watching the science channel, or the history channel.

      November 16, 2011 at 6:11 pm |
    • JC

      We humans only know about water as prime source for life. Titan has lakes of methane, how do you know that something cannot survive on another chemical. In a recent findings in Earth, we found bacteria thriving on Arsenic, which is one of the most toxic elements ever found. DNA can be structured in various forms.
      Just don't close the gap of your knowledge.

      November 16, 2011 at 6:19 pm |
    • Yossarian

      The article uses "surface" inconsistently. The true surface of Europa is indeed a cold and uninviting place. The "surface" of the lakes underneath is more like finding an air pocket inside an underwater cave. There's still stuff above you, but there's a surface nonetheless. Thanks to tidal heating the interior of Europa is likely much more hospitable, so who knows what these subsurface lakes are really like.

      November 16, 2011 at 6:21 pm |
    • sean

      Tom (if that's your REAL name)- Let's see your papers. Where do you come from? And why are you so interested in keeping us real earthlings away from Europa, anyway?

      November 16, 2011 at 8:23 pm |
  57. Conrad1978

    Send Ben Affleck & Bruce Willis......they can drill through anything!
    I'm actually really interested to see if any form of life, no matter the size, could spring up anywhere in our solar system.

    November 16, 2011 at 5:46 pm |
  58. Nemo

    These are not the life forms you are seeking j/k

    It would be wonder to just have a satalite orbiting Europa taking pictures and generating topos like we have of Mars. Sigh, just have to wait and dream.

    November 16, 2011 at 5:46 pm |
  59. Phil

    Nuke it! That'll solve all curiosities!

    November 16, 2011 at 5:42 pm |
    • patrick

      your dumb that dosent solv every thing egsept for radiations

      November 17, 2011 at 12:35 pm |
  60. Phil

    Since when do we have the money to support even giving a hoot if there is life on one of Jupiter's moons? We can't even provide food and shelter to all our homeless and jobless let alone the Earth!!!!!!

    November 16, 2011 at 5:41 pm |
    • denim

      Provide the homeless and jobless with jobs on the project to explore Europa.

      November 16, 2011 at 5:50 pm |
    • Moe Smith

      spend less time bi7chin on the internet and more time donating to a good cause and you might have a leg to stand on in your self-righteous rants.

      November 16, 2011 at 5:58 pm |
    • sean

      well of COURSE we can't provide food and shelter to our jobless and homeless people!! It would defy the laws of logic. If we DID then they wouldn't be jobless or homeless! Duh!

      November 16, 2011 at 8:19 pm |
  61. The Atlanteans

    PLEASE leave us alone? We moved here to get AWAY from you idiots!

    November 16, 2011 at 5:38 pm |
    • SAM

      @The Atlanteans LOL

      November 16, 2011 at 5:57 pm |
  62. BobZemko

    I'm surprised we didn't launch a Starbucks to it's surface already.

    November 16, 2011 at 5:30 pm |
    • out back counting stars

      Here's the plan: First, send 16 people to Europa and open 4 independent mom-and-pop coffee shops. Then send the Starbucks to Europa to bankrupt and replace all the mom-and-pop shops, thus forcing their previous owners and workers to employ themselves at the 1 Starbucks in "high paying – high quality jobs" sweeping the floors and taking out the trash for $2.50 an hour.

      November 16, 2011 at 5:52 pm |
  63. epicjourney

    Good news for life on Europa – US will not invade – for now.

    November 16, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  64. shiga

    I wonder if they will actually send a probe, or if they already know life is there...

    November 16, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
  65. I'm The Best!

    They really need to send something there to find out sooner rather than later. I would love to see pictures of the surface of Europa, maybe even some underwater shots if there really is an ocean there.

    November 16, 2011 at 1:11 pm |
    • JD

      Nice thought, and I'm with you...but this costs money. And the U.S. taxpayer doesn't want to spend money to do research like this – have you seen NASA's budget lately?

      November 16, 2011 at 5:32 pm |
      • DS

        NASA's budget is less than 0.70% of the total budget. Believe me, we're better off cutting out all the social programs if we want to make a dent.

        November 16, 2011 at 5:47 pm |
    • basketcase

      It would be great to see underwater shots, but considering the oceans are under 30 miles of ice, I'm not expecting any soon.

      November 16, 2011 at 5:35 pm |
    • Patropolis

      Even if we did go there we do not have the technology to melt/drill a hole 30 miles deep. Even 2-3 miles deep would require sending a automated oil rig into deep space. The deepest man made hole in the earth is only 7-1/2 miles deep. We need to wait for the technology to develope before we go sending anything.

      November 16, 2011 at 5:40 pm |
      • karlotious

        lasers do work better and faster than a floting rig fyi..... wish nasa would develop nuclear fission reactors instead of simple propellant

        November 16, 2011 at 5:48 pm |
      • Tonelok

        I think you mean nuclear "Fusion". Fission is what is currently used.
        Also, the technology being thrown to drill through the ice isn't for a sustained, surface bound, drill. But rather a smaller device that can drill and carry its equipment with it, leaving nothing on the surface.
        Really cool though, hope I will actually be alive to see this.

        November 16, 2011 at 6:13 pm |
    • Yossarian

      I've seen concept art of a robotic submarine exploring under Europa's surface. Getting down there isn't difficult. A hot water drill like they use in Antarctica would do the job. Getting a signal to transmit back up from the ocean depths is another matter.

      Probably send the sub down trailing an antenna wire with one end left on the surface.

      November 16, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
      • Bill

        nasa are such clowns...

        November 16, 2011 at 9:18 pm |
      • Yossarian

        Your comment has nothing to do with mine. Try again, Bill.

        November 16, 2011 at 9:20 pm |


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