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Space Science

Discovery Increases Odds of Life On Europa 164

tetrahedrassface writes "Observations of spectral emissions from the surface of Europa using state of the art ground based telescopes here on Earth have lent data that indicate the surface of the Jovian moon is linked with the vast ocean below. The observations carried out by Caltech's Mike Brown and JPL's Kevin Hand show that water is making it from the ocean below all the way up to the surface of the moon. In their study (PDF) they noticed a dip in the emission bands around lower latitudes of the moon, and quickly honed in on what they were seeing. The mineral of interest is epsomite, a magnesium sulfate compound that can only come from the ocean below. From the article: 'Magnesium should not be on the surface of Europa unless it's coming from the ocean,' Brown says. 'So that means ocean water gets onto the surface, and stuff on the surface presumably gets into the ocean water.' Not only does this mean the ocean and surface are dynamically interacting, but it also means that there may be more energy in the ocean than previously thought. Another finding is that the ocean below the icy surface of Europa is basically very similar to an ocean on Earth, giving the neglected and premier solar body for life past Earth another compelling reason for being explored."
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Discovery Increases Odds of Life On Europa

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  • by Press2ToContinue ( 2424598 ) * on Tuesday March 05, 2013 @09:09PM (#43086947)

    and a series of flybys began in the 1970s. Pioneer 10 and 11 visited Jupiter in 1973 and 1974 respectively.

    Two Voyager probes traveled through the Jovian system in 1979 providing more detailed images of Europa's icy surface. The images caused many scientists to speculate about the possibility of a liquid ocean underneath.

    Starting in 1995, the Galileo probe began a Jupiter orbiting mission that lasted for eight years, until 2003, and provided the most detailed examination of the Galilean moons to date. It included, Galileo Europa Mission and Galileo Millennium Mission, with numerous close flybys of Europa.

    Neglected indeed.

    (Paraphrased from Wikipedia)

  • Re:language issues? (Score:4, Informative)

    by negablade ( 2745981 ) on Wednesday March 06, 2013 @04:45AM (#43090165)
    'Hone' means to focus in or to work towards a specific goal, and is listed in reputable print dictionaries (i.e. []). Honed in is the past tense of hone in. It is true that some people think it is wrong, and that opinion is open to debate, as it should be for any living language. But the deciding factor is whether the intent of the phase is understood by the majority of readers. Since it is in common use, it follows that it has become accepted phraseology.

"To take a significant step forward, you must make a series of finite improvements." -- Donald J. Atwood, General Motors