Jupiter’s Moon, Europa, Could Be Housing Octopus-Like Aliens

A bold statement

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Europa, Jupiter's moon
Europa, Jupiter's moon

Alien life may exist in our own solar system, with an expert believing Jupiter’s moon to be home to octopus-like creatures. 

Europa has long been a spot of speculation for evolving life outside of Earth. With an abundance of icy cold water and a rampant production of oxygen, exploration of the moon has classified as a high-priority mission by NASA since 2013.

Monica Grady, a professor of Planetary and Space Science at Liverpool Hope University, echoes this belief – suggesting that the seas beneath the moon’s crust could be host to marine wildlife similar to octopuses.

Jupiter
Jupiter is the king of the solar system, more massive than all of the other solar-system planets combined. Although astronomers have been observing the gas-giant planet for hundreds of years, it still remains a mysterious world. Astronomers don’t have definitive answers, for example, of why cloud bands and storms change colors, or why storms shrink in size. The most prominent long-lasting feature, the Great Red Spot, has been downsizing since the 1800s. However, the giant storm is still large enough to swallow Earth. The Red Spot is anchored in a roiling atmosphere that is powered by heat welling up from the monster planet’s deep interior, which drives a turbulent atmosphere. In contrast, sunlight powers Earth’s atmosphere. From Jupiter, however, the Sun is much fainter because the planet is much farther away from it. Jupiter’s upper atmosphere is a riot of colorful clouds, contained in bands that whisk along at different wind speeds and in alternating directions. Dynamic features such as cyclones and anticyclones (high-pressure storms that rotate counterclockwise in the southern hemisphere) abound. Attempting to understand the forces driving Jupiter’s atmosphere is like trying to predict the pattern cream will make when it is poured into a hot cup of coffee. Researchers are hoping that Hubble’s yearly monitoring of the planet—as an interplanetary weatherman—will reveal the shifting behavior of Jupiter’s clouds. Hubble images should help unravel many of the planet’s outstanding puzzles. This new Hubble image is part of that yearly study, called the Outer Planets Atmospheres Legacy program, or OPAL.

Along with Europa, Grady also believes there could be life on Mars (buried beneath the surface, where it’d be protected from solar radiation).

Grady told the MailOnline

When it comes to the prospects of life beyond Earth, it’s almost a racing certainty that there’s life beneath the ice on Europa. Elsewhere, if there’s going to be life on Mars, it’s going to be under the surface of the planet. There you’re protected from solar radiation. And that means there’s the possibility of ice remaining in the pores of the rocks, which could act as a source of water.

If there is something on Mars, it’s likely to be very small-bacteria. But I think we’ve got a better chance of having slightly higher forms of life on Europa, perhaps similar to the intelligence of an octopus.

Jupiter
Jupiter

Just last June, NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope spotted sodium chloride (aka, salt) on Europa’s surface. Below the moon’s frozen seawater exterior lies vast icy depths, highly speculated to be the ideal breeding ground for life.

As for beyond the Milky Way, Grady explained:  

Our solar system is not a particularly special planetary system, as far as we know, and we still haven’t explored all the stars in the galaxy. But I think it’s highly likely there will be life elsewhere – and I think it’s highly likely they’ll be made of the same elements. Humans evolved from little furry mammals that got the opportunity to evolve because the dinosaurs were killed by an asteroid impact.

That is probably not going to happen on every planet – but it’s at least possible based purely on a statistical argument. Whether we will ever be able to contact extraterrestrial life is anyone’s guess, purely because the distances are just too huge.

Europa's octopus-like aliens
Europa’s octopus-like aliens

There’s always the chance that, within our solar system, we could be the only forms of intelligent life. ‘If there’s only us, then we have a duty to protect the planet,’ Grady added.

As long as there’s no xenomorphs, let us venture ad astra’ – we surely can’t be the only life in this vast expanse of space.

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