Joint NASA/ESA mission proposed to search for life on Europa

Ocean world: new proposed mission would search for evidence of life in Europa’s subsurface water ocean. Photo Credit: NASA/JPL/Ted Stryk

Europa is one of the most fascinating places in the Solar System, and is considered to be at or near the top of the list of worlds to search for possible evidence of life. Beneath its outer ice crust lies a deep and dark salty ocean, thought to be quite to Earth’s own oceans. Could that ocean be inhabited, even if just by microbes? Scientists want to know, and now a new proposal calls for a joint orbiter/lander mission between NASA and ESA (European Space Agency), to try to answer that question.

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New European space telescope will study ‘super-Earth’ exoplanets

Artist’s conception of Cheops. Credit: University of Bern / ESA

An amazingly wide variety of exoplanets are now being discovered orbiting other stars and some of the most interesting are those referred to as “super-Earths,” rocky worlds which are typically a little larger to a few times bigger than Earth.

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