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Octopus-like creatures inhabit Jupiter’s moon, claims space scientist

A leading British space scientist thinks there is life under the ice sheets of Europa.

Jupiter's moon Europa has a huge ocean beneath its sheets of ice.

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SETI Institute
  • A British scientist named Professor Monica Grady recently came out in support of extraterrestrial life on Europa.
  • Europa, the sixth largest moon in the solar system, may have favorable conditions for life under its miles of ice.
  • The moon is one of Jupiter's 79.

Alien hunting is a hopeful activity, and one reason behind our space programs that the public generally supports. Looking for other life is a strong incentive to be venturing out into space, despite having found none so far. A top British space scientist, Professor Monica Grady, gave all cosmic explorers a big dose of such hope in a recent speech. She is certain there's some form of life on Jupiter's moon, Europa.

This life would not look human, but more like an "octopus," and is likely residing in the cold waters under the moon's sheets of ice.

Grady, a Professor of Planetary and Space Science and Chancellor at Liverpool Hope University, thinks there's a great likelihood of undiscovered life somewhere in our galaxy.

She also supposes that the deeper caves and cavernous space of Mars could be harboring some subterranean creatures, likely bacteria, there to escape the solar radiation. They could be getting water from the ice buried deep down.

"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," she said in a February address.

She thinks these life forms on Europa, 390 million miles from Earth, could be higher in sophistication than the Martian bacteria, possibly having "the intelligence of an octopus."

Where would the creatures live on this moon of Jupiter? Somewhere below the very thick layer of ice, which goes 15 miles deep in some places. It's possible there is liquid water beneath all that ice, keeping whatever lives inside protected against radiation and the impact of asteroids and similar smashing bodies.

The likelihood of life on Europa is bolstered by the possible hydrothermal vents on its ocean floor. Such vents are cradles of life on Earth.

Grady thinks that our solar system doesn't have to be particularly special and that statistically speaking, as we explore other stars and galaxies, we should be able to find conditions for life. "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," stated the professor.

Neil deGrasse Tyson wants to go ice fishing on Europa

Grady did not want to guess whether we will contact extraterrestrials any time soon, citing the fact that distances between us and likely aliens might be gigantic.

On the other hand, she added, if you look at a grain of sand, you "can see that most of it is made up of silicates, but it's also got little patches of carbon in it—and that carbon is extra-terrestrial, because it also contains nitrogen and hydrogen, which is not a terrestrial signature."

This tiny sample, says Grady, shows it was hit by meteorites, asteroids, and interstellar dust, pointing out "It's giving us an idea of how complex the record of extra-terrestrial material really is."

As for Europa, it has certainly figured in conversations about alien life previously. As NASA explains, scientists call Europa an "ocean world" due to decades of observations that predict an ocean under its sheets of ice.

In 2019, water vapor was confirmed there by NASA for the first time. While it might just have the right conditions for life, does this moon have little octopus E.T.s swimming about? Future studies will tell.

Water Vapor Above Europa’s Surface Deteced for First Time

The “new normal” paradox: What COVID-19 has revealed about higher education

Higher education faces challenges that are unlike any other industry. What path will ASU, and universities like ASU, take in a post-COVID world?

Photo: Luis Robayo/AFP via Getty Images
Sponsored by Charles Koch Foundation
  • Everywhere you turn, the idea that coronavirus has brought on a "new normal" is present and true. But for higher education, COVID-19 exposes a long list of pernicious old problems more than it presents new problems.
  • It was widely known, yet ignored, that digital instruction must be embraced. When combined with traditional, in-person teaching, it can enhance student learning outcomes at scale.
  • COVID-19 has forced institutions to understand that far too many higher education outcomes are determined by a student's family income, and in the context of COVID-19 this means that lower-income students, first-generation students and students of color will be disproportionately afflicted.
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Climate change melts Mount Everest's ice, exposing dead bodies of past climbers

Melting ice is turning up bodies on Mt. Everest. This isn't as shocking as you'd think.

Image source: Wikimedia commons
Surprising Science
  • Mt. Everest is the final resting place of about 200 climbers who never made it down.
  • Recent glacial melting, caused by climate change, has made many of the bodies previously hidden by ice and snow visible again.
  • While many bodies are quite visible and well known, others are renowned for being lost for decades.
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Creativity: The science behind the madness

Human brains evolved for creativity. We just have to learn how to access it.

Creativity: The science behind the madness | Rainn Wilson, David Eagleman, Scott ...
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  • An all-star cast of Big Thinkers—actors Rainn Wilson and Ethan Hawke; composer Anthony Brandt; neuroscientists David Eagleman, Wendy Suzuki, and Beau Lotto; and psychologist Scott Barry Kaufman—share how they define creativity and explain how our brains uniquely evolved for the phenomenon.
  • According to Eagleman, during evolution there was an increase in space between our brain's input and output that allows information more time to percolate. We also grew a larger prefrontal cortex which "allows us to simulate what ifs, to separate ourselves from our location in space and time and think about possibilities."
  • Scott Barry Kaufman details 3 brain networks involved in creative thinking, and Wendy Suzuki busts the famous left-brain, right-brain myth.

Dinosaur bone? Meteorite? These men's wedding bands are a real break from boredom.

Manly Bands wanted to improve on mens' wedding bands. Mission accomplished.

Sex & Relationships
  • Manly Bands was founded in 2016 to provide better options and customer service in men's wedding bands.
  • Unique materials include antler, dinosaur bones, meteorite, tungsten, and whiskey barrels.
  • The company donates a portion of profits to charity every month.
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Politics & Current Affairs

How #Unity2020 plans to end the two-party system, bring back Andrew Yang

The proposal calls for the American public to draft two candidates to lead the executive branch: one from the center-left, the other from the center-right.

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