With the help of science and technology, the moment when human beings go out of the earth and recognize the vast universe, exploring extraterrestrial life has become an important part of our exploration of the mysteries of the universe. I believe that as long as people see the vast universe, they will be very curious about whether there is a second life planet in the universe and whether there is an intelligent civilization like human beings.
In most cognitions, the earth is unlikely to be the only living planet in such a vast universe, and the human civilization is unlikely to be the only one. Scientists also hold a positive attitude towards the existence of extraterrestrial life. However, due to the limitations of human science and technology, we can not really go out of the solar system and explore life in other galaxies.
The extraterrestrial life that human beings can explore now is limited to the solar system, in which there are eight planets, with Venus and Mars in the same habitable zone as the earth. Therefore, on the way to explore extraterrestrial life, the first target chosen by human beings is Venus. However, due to the very bad ecological environment on Venus, the pace of exploration can not move forward, so later scientists turned to Mars.
Mars is relatively a good planet, although it is very desolate, but the probe can land on Mars for a long time of mobile exploration. Through the continuous exploration of Mars for more than half a century, scientists have gained a lot of knowledge about Mars, especially the major discoveries of water and organic matter on Mars in recent years.
You know, in human cognition, water is the source of life. The earth is a planet rich in water resources, 71% of the surface area is sea. The early life of the earth was also born in the ocean. Later, a part of the marine life went out of the ocean and developed to the land, which led to the later land life.
If a planet wants to give birth to life, it needs to meet many conditions, but water is an indispensable factor. Without water, there would be no birth of life on earth, let alone the birth of human beings. And water is also a very important part of the whole ecosystem of the earth. Scientists recognize the importance of water in the life system, so it is very important to explore the existence of water in the search for extraterrestrial life.
Is there water in the solar system other than the earth? The answer is yes. Take Mars for example. Although the whole surface is desolate and there is no water, we found that there is water ice in the north pole of Mars, and there may still be a lot of water under the surface of Mars.
Among the many planets in the solar system, the most abundant water resources are not the major planets, but the satellites of some planets. Among them, Europa may become the second living planet in the solar system. What’s the matter? As we all know, Jupiter is the largest gaseous giant planet in the solar system and the protector of the earth. Jupiter is also the planet with the largest number of moons in the solar system.
Jupiter has 79 moons, among which Europa is the most popular. Europa was discovered by Galileo as early as 1610. It is the sixth known moon of Jupiter and the fourth largest moon of Jupiter. The reason why it can be discovered by human beings very early is that its surface is covered with ice and has strong reflection. In the field of view of astronomical telescope, Europa is very bright.
In the early days, although scientists found that the surface of Europa was covered by ice, they did not pay much attention to it. In the eyes of scientists, Europa did not conform to the characteristics of a livable planet, and the possibility of life was very small. But later, the Jupiter probe made some close-up explorations on Europa and made many important discoveries.
Through the detector, we know that Europa has an atmosphere and a weak magnetic field, and there is oxygen in the atmosphere. At this time, this humble satellite in the past attracted scientists’ attention. You know, in our cognition, atmosphere, oxygen and water are the three important conditions for the birth of life on earth.
Now that Europa has these three conditions, the possibility of life on it is very great. In 2013, NASA not only found clay on the surface of Europa, but also found a liquid ocean deeper than the earth’s ocean under its thick ice shell. At the same time, it judged that Europa’s ocean is likely to be warm.
There is a huge ocean under Europa’s thick ice, which has been widely recognized by the scientific community. With warm oceans, the possibility of life is increasing again. Some scientists even believe that Europa’s sub ice ocean may not only contain simple microorganisms, but also contain complex fish and other creatures like those in the earth’s oceans.
As scientists learn more about Europa, they expect more and more life to exist in it. In the past, scientists thought that Mars might be the second living planet in the solar system, but now scientists put this expectation on Europa. You know, in terms of the conditions needed for the birth of life, Europa is obviously superior to Mars.
Although scientists have high expectations for the existence of life on Europa, it is very difficult to explore the planet. Our probe can land on Mars, but it is not so easy to land on Europa. Besides the low temperature of Europa, another important factor is that there are many large ice spines on the surface of Europa.
Europa is a world of ice. The surface of Europa is covered with ice and covered with various ice spines, most of which are more than 4 meters high. Some people may think that ice sting is not steel sting, not so powerful. But in fact, ice spines formed on very cold planets are no sharper than steel spines. Once the detector hits, it’s probably over.
You know, our space technology is still underdeveloped. When a probe lands on a planet, it can’t land as easily and slowly as an anti gravity probe. Our probe will land on a planet with very fast acceleration. Although it is not as powerful as a meteorite hitting the planet, it will not land on the surface of the planet very gently.
When a Mars probe lands on the surface of Mars, it will arouse huge dust, which is caused by a certain impact force. The surface of Mars is relatively mild, and the impact will not cause any damage to the probe. However, if the probe lands on Europa with acceleration, the situation will be completely different. If not, it will hit a huge ice spike and damage the probe.
Therefore, although scientists really want to understand whether there is life on Europa, we can’t really land on Europa for detailed exploration before space technology goes further. And to really detect life on Europa, you need to penetrate 15-25 kilometers of ice and enter the ocean under the ice.
It will take a long time to achieve this goal. At present, scientists have started the relevant Europa exploration program. The Europa fast sail mission to visit Europa is now in an orderly way, and it is planned to launch in the mid-1920s. After reaching Jupiter’s orbit, it will fly Europa dozens of times to map its ocean features, study its ice surface in detail, and perform other missions. In addition, the European Space Agency’s Jupiter ice moon probe will also study Europa, Ganymede and Jupiter itself. Juice is a Jupiter orbiter and is scheduled to launch in 2022.
In addition to these, scientists are studying the powerful Europa drilling rig. Only by developing a very powerful “drilling system”, can we drill through Europa’s thick ice and reach the ocean below. However, it may not be possible to achieve such a penetration plan in a short time. Ideally, the development of Europa’s ice rig now will not be able to explore Europa’s oceans until the late 1930s at the earliest.
Of course, the above is only ideal. The real Europa underwater ocean exploration program may be much longer than expected. However, with the rapid development of human science and technology, it is believed that the exploration of Europa can be realized in the world. As long as we enter the underwater ocean of Europa, we can know whether there is life in it. Maybe Europa will bring us more surprises.
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