Dr. Samantha Unger led a press conference today announcing the successful launch of the Europa One spacecraft. The booster rocket launched the command module and crew into orbit where it will dock with the orbiter already in space. The orbiter module was assembled in stages in Earth's orbit over a period of 18 months. The booster rockets on the orbiter will propel the crew to Jupiter's icy moon Europa, a 20 month journey. The mission has been in the works for over three years and will ultimately cost an estimated $3.7 billion dollars said Dr. Unger.
At the press conference Dr. Unger said,
"For decades, scientists have theorized the existence of liquid water oceans on Jupiter's moon, Europa. We've recently discovered new, captivating evidence that these sub-surface oceans do exist and could support life. We've sent six astronauts from space programs throughout the world on a three year journey to Europa to explore its oceans and confirm these findings. We're proud to be at the forefront of the effort to prove the existence of extra-terrestrial life within our solar system, within our lifetimes.This really is a new first step for mankind."
|I would hope we keep looking for the answers to those really tough questions. Who are we? Where did we come from? And… are we alone? -- James Corrigan, Engineer|
In the deepest parts of the Earth’s oceans, miles below sea level where sun light has no hope of ever reaching, there is life! How can life exist without the energy of the Sun? Hydrothermal Vents! Cracks in the Earth’s crust near tectonic plates suck in ocean water that in turn super heats the water, jettisoning it back out into the near freezing ocean water. The superheated water may form features such as black smokers that are formed from minerals dissolved in the vent fluid. The areas around hydrothermal vents are biologically very productive and often host complex communities of life, fueled by the chemicals dissolved in the vent fluids. Bacteria form the base of the food chain supporting diverse organisms such as giant tube worms, shrimp, clams, and limpets.
What does this have to do with Europa? Active hydrothermal vents are believed to exist in vast oceans under the frozen surface. The constant gravitational force exerted on Europa from Jupiter is believed to create heat energy from the tidal flexing. Scientists believe that Europa is volcanically active and thus have the same ingredients for sub ocean life: volcanic heat and water.
Europa Ventures LLC is the world's private enterprise leader in aerospace and exploration.