Self-Motivation
David Goggins
Former Navy Seal
Career Development
Bryan Cranston
Actor
Critical Thinking
Liv Boeree
International Poker Champion
Emotional Intelligence
Amaryllis Fox
Former CIA Clandestine Operative
Management
Chris Hadfield
Retired Canadian Astronaut & Author
Learn
from the world's big
thinkers
Start Learning

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 spaces 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 would 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

Live tomorrow! Unfiltered lessons of a female entrepreneur

Join Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter and best-selling author Charles Duhigg as he interviews Victoria Montgomery Brown, co-founder and CEO of Big Think, live at 1pm EDT tomorrow.

Two MIT students just solved Richard Feynman’s famed physics puzzle

Richard Feynman once asked a silly question. Two MIT students just answered it.

Surprising Science

Here's a fun experiment to try. Go to your pantry and see if you have a box of spaghetti. If you do, take out a noodle. Grab both ends of it and bend it until it breaks in half. How many pieces did it break into? If you got two large pieces and at least one small piece you're not alone.

Keep reading Show less

Improving Olympic performance with asthma drugs?

A study looks at the performance benefits delivered by asthma drugs when they're taken by athletes who don't have asthma.

Image source: sumroeng chinnapan/Shutterstock
Culture & Religion
  • One on hand, the most common health condition among Olympic athletes is asthma. On the other, asthmatic athletes regularly outperform their non-asthmatic counterparts.
  • A new study assesses the performance-enhancement effects of asthma medication for non-asthmatics.
  • The analysis looks at the effects of both allowed and banned asthma medications.

Keep reading Show less

Weird science shows unseemly way beetles escape after being eaten

Certain water beetles can escape from frogs after being consumed.

R. attenuata escaping from a black-spotted pond frog.

Surprising Science
  • A Japanese scientist shows that some beetles can wiggle out of frog's butts after being eaten whole.
  • The research suggests the beetle can get out in as little as 7 minutes.
  • Most of the beetles swallowed in the experiment survived with no complications after being excreted.
Keep reading Show less
Mind & Brain

Why are we fascinated by true crime stories?

Several experts have weighed in on our sometimes morbid curiosity and fascination with true crime.

Scroll down to load more…
Quantcast