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LIFE ON EUROPA Could this change our understanding of life? By: Michael Brunette Sayan Basu Two Rivers Middle Magnet School East Hartford, Connecticut.

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Presentation on theme: "LIFE ON EUROPA Could this change our understanding of life? By: Michael Brunette Sayan Basu Two Rivers Middle Magnet School East Hartford, Connecticut."— Presentation transcript:

1 LIFE ON EUROPA Could this change our understanding of life? By: Michael Brunette Sayan Basu Two Rivers Middle Magnet School East Hartford, Connecticut

2 Europa Facts One of the 4 Galilean moons of Jupiter One of the 4 Galilean moons of Jupiter Discovered by Galileo on January 7,1610 Discovered by Galileo on January 7,1610 Avg. Orbital Speed = km/s Avg. Orbital Speed = km/s Surface Temperature = 102k (-171C) Surface Temperature = 102k (-171C)

3 On Europa we have… Surface of ice Surface of ice Many cracks in the ice Many cracks in the ice Possible salt water ocean under the ice surface Possible salt water ocean under the ice surface Atmosphere of molecular oxygen Atmosphere of molecular oxygen

4 Our Investigation… Could there be life on Europa and how can we prove it? Idea: Send a probe to Europa to find evidence of life that could be there. Idea: Send a probe to Europa to find evidence of life that could be there. Challenge: We need to know what Europa's conditions are Challenge: We need to know what Europa's conditions are

5 A Solution? Scan surface for crevice on the ice Scan surface for crevice on the ice Send another probe down to take ice samples Send another probe down to take ice samples If biological matter or chemical markers are found, then we can take equipment to Europa and use cryobots to explore the ocean If biological matter or chemical markers are found, then we can take equipment to Europa and use cryobots to explore the ocean

6 Problems Ice surface is miles thick Ice surface is miles thick Deepest we have dug is 7.6 miles taking 15 years Deepest we have dug is 7.6 miles taking 15 years It will be expensive and take lots of time and energy to take equipment to Europa It will be expensive and take lots of time and energy to take equipment to Europa Equipment malfunctions would end the project Equipment malfunctions would end the project

7 Why Would There Be Life On Europa Evidence suggests that… Liquid salt water ocean Liquid salt water ocean Likely more salt water than on Earth Likely more salt water than on Earth Molten core allows for a possibility of sulfur based ecosystems Molten core allows for a possibility of sulfur based ecosystems Hydrothermal Vents Hydrothermal Vents

8 Why would there not be life on Europa? Radiation dangerously high being 540rem Radiation dangerously high being 540rem Pressure is far less than normal pressure on Earth Pressure is far less than normal pressure on Earth Surface Temp. Avg. 102K Surface Temp. Avg. 102K

9 Tidal Flexing Caused by the gravitational torque of Jupiter on Europas tides Caused by the gravitational torque of Jupiter on Europas tides Energy from angular momentum and total energy turn to heat Energy from angular momentum and total energy turn to heat The heat will cause convection currents on the surface warming the ocean

10 Hydrothermal Vents Live near geologically active areas Live near geologically active areas Give off minerals and chemicals such as hydrogen sulfide that life forms require to survive Give off minerals and chemicals such as hydrogen sulfide that life forms require to survive Through a process known as chemosynthesis, methanogens can gain energy to survive Through a process known as chemosynthesis, methanogens can gain energy to survive

11 Chemosynthesis The specimen takes in carbon or methane with other nutrients to turn into organic matter The specimen takes in carbon or methane with other nutrients to turn into organic matter This is done by oxidizing inorganic molecules such as hydrogen sulfide This is done by oxidizing inorganic molecules such as hydrogen sulfide

12 Tardigrades Phylum: Tardigrada Commonly known as water bears Polyextremophiles Most are phytophagous Found in many regions: Himalayas, hot springs, ice, lakes

13 Tardigrade Experiment Data Radiation Radiation Extreme heat Extreme heat Extreme cold Extreme cold

14 Explanation Cryobiosis: An ametabolic stage tardigrades go through to withstand effects of radiation, high and low temps., pressure and toxins. Cryobiosis: An ametabolic stage tardigrades go through to withstand effects of radiation, high and low temps., pressure and toxins. Tardigrades acquire it through anhydrobiosis Tardigrades acquire it through anhydrobiosis Able to survive from high levels of trehalose to protect their membranes during desiccation Able to survive from high levels of trehalose to protect their membranes during desiccation

15 Methanogens Produce energy from chemosynthesis Produce energy from chemosynthesis Have been living in the ice of Greenland Have been living in the ice of Greenland Are anaerobic Are anaerobic Can survive cold temperatures Can survive cold temperatures Are chemotrophs Are chemotrophs

16 Extremophiles Can live in very harsh conditions Can live in very harsh conditions Hyperthermophiles live near hydrothermal systems Hyperthermophiles live near hydrothermal systems Cryophiles live well in conditions 15 degrees or lower Cryophiles live well in conditions 15 degrees or lower

17 Conclusions We could find evidence of life by first sending an orbiter and then using a probe. We could find evidence of life by first sending an orbiter and then using a probe. There is a high possibility of a liquid ocean due to tidal flexing There is a high possibility of a liquid ocean due to tidal flexing Life on Europa would have to survive through chemosynthesis Life on Europa would have to survive through chemosynthesis Most likely life form living there are methanogens Most likely life form living there are methanogens Tardigrades can survive in extreme conditions for an limited amount of time Tardigrades can survive in extreme conditions for an limited amount of time

18 Possible Careers Astronaut Astronaut Astro-biologist Astro-biologist Space Exploration Programs Space Exploration Programs Biologist Biologist Mechanical Engineer Mechanical Engineer

19 Areas Of More Study Amphipods Amphipods Technology used in exploration missions Technology used in exploration missions Organic molecules and how they are formed Organic molecules and how they are formed Hydrothermal vent construction Hydrothermal vent construction

20 What We Have Learned What Chemosynthesis is and how it works What Chemosynthesis is and how it works How early life forms lived on Earth How early life forms lived on Earth What Heterotrophs are What Heterotrophs are What Methanogens, Tardigrades and Extremophiles are What Methanogens, Tardigrades and Extremophiles are What Tidal Flexing is and how it impacts planets/moons What Tidal Flexing is and how it impacts planets/moons

21 Resources alimages.html alimages.html alimages.html alimages.html 08/08/gallery_kola_borehole 08/08/gallery_kola_borehole 08/08/gallery_kola_borehole 08/08/gallery_kola_borehole Popular Science: Chemistry, Biology, Physics Popular Science: Chemistry, Biology, Physics Popular Science: Popular Science:

22 Thank You! Thank you for watching our presentation! We would like to thank Mr.Smith, Mrs.Hazen, Two Rivers and NASA for giving us this opportunity to share our thoughts!

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