Scientists consider Jupiter’s moon Europa one of the best candidates for harboring alien life in the solar system. Its atmosphere is mostly made up of oxygen and it has a smooth surface of ice (not to mention a rocky mantle and likely an iron core — sound familiar?). Based on data gathered by the Galileo spacecraft, which arrived at the Jovian moon in 1995, scientists theorize that under Europa’s icy surface exists an ocean of water, kept liquid by heat generated from tidal forces. Recent evidence published in the Science Express journal lends support to this theory, as data from the Hubble indicates plumes of water vapor at Europa’s south pole, suggesting that there is indeed liquid water under the surface.
Even though NASA has been crippled by the government shutdown, maintaining enough staff and operations to keep our ISS astronauts alive, its spacecraft continue on their missions, supporting the argument that robots and artificial intelligence are indeed smarter than humans. Today, spacecraft Juno will fly by Earth for a boost that will help it reach speeds of roughly 165,000 miles per hour as it heads toward Jupiter.