Mishal Ursani

Year: 2018-19

Mishal Ursani

School: Karachi Grammar School

City: Karachi

"Jupiter’s smallest Galilean moon Europa was discovered by Galileo Galilei in 1610. NASA’s Galileo spacecraft explored the Jupiter system and the world was to take a closer look at Europa. Throughout the years we have learnt quite a lot about this celestial body and there is a multiple of reasons why I’s send a mission there to further explore its depths, seemingly teeming with possibilities.

The most astounding fact about Europa is that compared to the mass, the density of Europa being one gram per cubic centimeter leads to the likely theory that there is a vast body of water beneath Europa’s icy surface. This suggests that Europa harbors an ocean under its surface.

It is worth mentioning that life on earth began from its ocean. When the earth first developed oceans, they were hot and rich carbon-based chemicals. These chemicals reacted with each other and developed chemical structure. Early life began from here. If Europa truly harbors such a vast ocean, then the glaring possibility that we could find life there is too enticing not to explore.
Why would finding life on Europa be worth all the investment that goes into a space mission? We humans have always pondered upon the question, “are we alone”? it sounds cringe-inducingly cliché to even write those words as they have saturated our pop culture since there was an idea of space begin with. Who knows what answering the question would bring? A fear of hat is unfamiliar among the public, or perhaps the spiritual epiphany that we are much smaller and insignificant in the grand scheme of the universe than we think we are. But what about tangible development? Plausibly we could find microorganisms on Europa because anything larger has not been detected. These hypothetical organisms could be pathogens, and samples of them could help scientists learn more about pathogens on earth by comparison and learn about how they affect humans. New pathogens could be analyzed and used to make vaccinations against diseases caused by other pathogens on earth. Some microorganisms found on Europa could even contain substances that are the cure to illnesses such as cancer, as we have not yet found such substances on our own planet.

Furthermore, water geysers near the south pole of Europa have been discovered, and NASA’s Galileo spacecraft detected pits and domes that suggest Europa’s surface ice could be convincing due to heat from underneath. There is also evidence of subduction and plate tectonics on Europa. This suggests that we could potentially exploit geothermal energy from Europa and use it as a form of renewable energy here on earth.

Because of these intriguing possible occurrences on the smooth and seemingly bleak surface of Europa that makes it seem even more arcane, a mission to go to Europa should become a reality. It has the potential to bring immense resources and scientific discoveries for us or will at least answer some burning questions about our infinite universe and what lies beyond our horizons."

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