NASA recently released a stunning image captured of Jupiter’s moon Europa by webb observatory. This marks an exciting milestone in our search for life beyond Earth as Webb spotted a building block of life on the icy world.
The mysterious, icy surface of Europa is believed to host one of the most promising habitats for life in our Solar System. Beneath Europa’s deep-frozen exterior, lurks a deep, global ocean that is estimated to contain more water than all of Earth’s oceans combined.
The new image taken by Webb reveals a mix of bright and dark patches, which indicates the presence of organic molecules on the moon’s icy surface. Organic molecules are considered to be a key building block, and possibly an essential ingredient for life.
The photo was taken by Webb’s NIRSpec instrument, which is capable of collecting long spectroscopic images in the infrared part of the electromagnetic spectrum. These images allow scientists to identify the chemical makeup of Europa’s surface with unparalleled detail.
The exciting discovery suggests that Europa is indeed a viable habitat for life, or at least gives us a better understanding of what a potentially habitable environment looks like outside of Earth. While this new discovery is a step in the right direction, there is still much we don’t know about Europa.
Until further exploration is conducted by more advanced technology, such as a robotic probe or a human mission, the precise nature of Europa’s surface and its habitability will remain shrouded in mystery. Still, this discovery gives us a tantalizing hint of what the future of space exploration on Europa may hold!