Has NASA found evidence of alien life on Jupiter's moon Europa?
On Sept. 21, the U.S. space agency announced that it will present new findings about Jupiter's icy moon on Sept. 26, based on images captured by the Hubble Space Telescope.
NASA has long labeled Europa, one of Jupiter's 67 known moons, as one of the most likely places to host alien life in the Solar System so speculations about scientists finally revealing they have found signs of life on the moon are not at all surprising.
NASA, however, dissipated this excitement before it can get out of hand. For one, conspiracy theorists and alien hunters may look forward to hearing NASA finally admit that life forms do exist in extraterrestrial worlds. Some believe that the agency is already on its way to making a full disclosure about the existence of alien life.
NASA has made it clear that it has not yet discovered aliens on Europa.
— NASA (@NASA) September 21, 2016
NASA's announcement may be about the water vapor plumes that the Hubble space telescope first spotted years ago but have not been seen again.
The plumes of water vapor, which Hubble detected in December 2012, extended about 120 miles from Europa's south pole into space. The plumes caused excitement when its discovery was made public because this could mean a robotic probe can sample the suspected Europa ocean without the need to land on the surface of the moon.
If the existence of these plumes is confirmed, it could make it easier for scientists to investigate the habitable potentials of the moon. Instead of having to send probes that would drill through the thick icy shell of the moon, scientists only need to analyze the chemical content of these plumes.
"Astronomers will present results from a unique Europa observing campaign that resulted in surprising evidence of activity that may be related to the presence of a subsurface ocean on Europa," NASA said.
Earlier this year, researchers have found additional evidence that the moon can host alien life. In the study published in Geophysical Research Letters, planetary scientist Kevin Hand, from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), and colleagues reported that the ocean of Europa has chemical balance similar to that of the oceans on Earth.
Europa is believed to hold between two and three times the amount of water in the Earth's oceans.