Here on Mars we think we’re pretty hot shit being Martians and all, walking around giggling at Earthlings and their notoriously kludged skeletal systems. Looks like we may have some company in a third location of our sweet Milky Way Galaxy….Europa!
Europa, one of four Galilean moons to orbit the planet Jupiter may in fact host life similar to that living in the deep seas of the planet Earth. It is thought that Europa is made of an icy crust some 60 miles deep and -300o oF cold. The surface is basically ice covering layers of freezing subsurface salty ocean, a rocky interior, a silicate mantle and finally a metallic core. Sounds like a lovely place to park it and set up a family? If you say “yes,” you’re among many potential Europeans — as well as the notorious Yeti of the Earthly Himalayans, burrrrrr.
The frozen ocean, sandwiched between the icy surface and rocky mantle of Europa, is what Astrobiologists, those who study life throughout the universe, are really interested in when they think about Europa. They believe that chemosynthetic organisms may exist in the arctic subsurface of Europa. These chemosynthetic buggers are creatures that use carbon and nutrients to create organic matter, without needing to use Sun’s energy — unlike the majority of species on Earth. Tube worms and Archaea living in the deep subsurface oceans near thermal vents on Earth do this sort of energy conversion badassery on a daily basis, so what’s to stop it from happening on Europa!? Scientists also think chemosynthetic organisms used to live right here…on Mars! Continue reading