Tag Archives: Europa

Why Aren’t There Many Male Booktubers? The Jay Dee Show 33

I did some more frequent video publishing in the past week, but not quite what I used to do. The science videos have returned, as well! I posted 4 videos this week on 2 channels.

On my main channel, I posted a little less than I expected, but I did get 3 videos up! Let’s check them out.

First up is a Japan travel vlog, but it’s more about culture than anything a tourist would see. In fact, unless you’re invited to a funeral, you won’t get to see this! I talk about the 49th day of the traditional Buddhist funeral in Japan.

Next up is a new phenomenon on Booktube. Jayesh Chhaya opened up the topic about male booktubers. Where are they? Why aren’t there as many males booktubing as females? He created the Male Booktuber Tag, and I did it.

I continued my regular Authors Answer series on video with #32, all about writing controversial topics.

On my science channel, I uploaded 1 video, a video I’d recorded way back in April. Yeah, so it’s a bit old. I’m still dressed for cold weather. It’s the continuation of the A to Z Challenge, this time the letter E. It’s all about Jupiter’s moon Europa!

I can’t say how much I’ll be uploading over the next week, as I don’t know what’s going on with my job. It really depends on that. But I will be doing the Q&A for my 1 year anniversary on booktube, and hopefully a new Star Trek video. Definitely more Japan videos, though! And coming in the next day or two (maybe even today) is the next science video. Keep checking back and subscribe to my channels!

Which video did you enjoy? Let me know in the comments section.

E Is for Europa

Even though the A to Z Challenge is over, and I took a huge break, I’m going to finish it. A lot has happened over the last couple months, but it’s back! Today is the letter E, and I’m talking about Jupiter’s moon Europa! Did you learn anything new?

  1. Europa is the fourth largest natural satellite of Jupiter.
  2. It was discovered in 1610 by Galileo Galilei, along with the other three Galilean satellites.
  3. The surface of Europa is the smoothest surface of any world in the Solar System, consisting of water ice.
  4. Europa orbits Jupiter in just 3.55 days, with one side always facing Jupiter, as it’s tidally locked.
  5. Beneath the ice crust is an estimated 100 km deep ocean of salt water. But it isn’t clear if the ice is thick or thin. However, the amount of water on Europa is about two to three times the volume of Earth’s oceans.
  6. Europa has a weak magnetic field, best explained by Europa’s salt water ocean.
  7. Tidal heating from the interactions of Europa with Jupiter and the other Galilean satellites warms the interior of the moon, possibly resulting in hydrothermal vents at the floor of the ocean. This has led scientists to suggest that life may exist in Europa’s ocean.
  8. Europa most likely has an iron core and a rocky mantle.
  9. Observations by the Hubble Space Telescope provide further evidence of subsurface oceans, as plumes of water have been seen erupting to 200 km above the surface.
  10. Europa has an oxygen atmosphere. But it’s very thin, providing a surface pressure of only 0.1 micropascals.

Let me know what you learned in the comments section below!

Plumes Spotted on Europa

Take a look at this image.

Credits: NASA/ESA/W. Sparks (STScI)/USGS Astrogeology Science Center
Credits: NASA/ESA/W. Sparks (STScI)/USGS Astrogeology Science Center

Just what is this? Well, it’s Europa superimposed on an image of Europa taken by the Hubble Space Telescope. See that white stuff coming from the bottom left? That seems so similar to what we’ve seen from Enceladus. That’s a possible water plume!

So, what does this mean? It means that water is making it to the surface of Europa. This also means that we may have a much easier time accessing the water than we thought. We already have an extremely good idea about the internal structure of Europa, which likely includes a very deep liquid water ocean. Europa is one of the best candidates for life in the solar system, and with upcoming missions to Europa and the other icy moons of Jupiter coming soon, we’ll have an excellent opportunity to know what the composition of this water is. It’s suspected to be salty, but how salty is it? And does it support life?

This is very exciting. What do you think?

Possibility of Life in the Solar System

Earlier today, I posted a poll about where life could exist in the solar system.  It seems Mars is quite popular. You can still vote in the poll with your answer.  But now, I’ll examine each of the worlds and you can see what I think.  Keep in mind that I am an expert.  Okay, not an expert, but I do have a degree in astronomy.  So it is my area of expertise.

Mars

Mars_23_aug_2003_hubbleMars is the best-known planet in the solar system other than Earth.  We’ve had many probes go there, rovers explore the surface, and it’s one of the easiest to observe from Earth.  It’s a cold, dry world with most of its water locked up in the polar ice caps or underground.  There has been evidence of sudden outflows of liquid water, though it couldn’t last long on the surface, but maybe there are aquifers.  There are underground glaciers.  There’s a chance there is life in the aquifers.  Maybe there isn’t life now, but there may have been early in Mars’ history, as it’s recently been estimated that an ocean covered 20% of the surface.  We know it had a wet history.  Chances of life now? Quite low.  But much better in the past.

Ceres

PIA18920-Ceres-DwarfPlanet-20150219We’ve only been studying Ceres up close for a very short time.  We don’t know much about it, but there’s a guess about the internal structure.  There’s likely a rocky core with a thick ice mantle.  That’s covered by a thin dusty crust.  Liquid water could exist if it’s warm enough inside.  Water vapour was seen in January 2014, so it’s possible there is some sort of icy volcanism or geysers.  What we’ve seen of the surface so far shows that it’s rather dark, but a couple bright spots could be ice.  Chances of life now? Probably quite low.

Europa

PIA19048_realistic_color_Europa_mosaicThis icy moon of Jupiter has been of particular interest for a very long time.  It’s almost completely smooth, covered with water ice, and it shows evidence of an active surface, similar to the Arctic polar ice cap of Earth.  Thanks to tidal forces exerted on it by Jupiter and other moons of Jupiter, it’s kept warm.  That means there’s most likely a vast liquid water ocean under its icy crust.  It’s also very likely that there’s underwater volcanism, similar to what we find on the floor of the Earth’s oceans.  Those hydrothermal vents are teeming with life, and may give Europa a wonderful chance of supporting simple life, or even some more complex marine life.  Because of the thick icy crust, it’s difficult to see what’s beneath.  NASA’s recently had a proposal to explore Europa approved, so we could have this chance soon.  Chances of life now? Not unlikely, but there’s a decent chance.

Titan

converted PNM fileThe second largest moon in the solar system also happens to be the only moon in the solar system to support a significant atmosphere.  In fact, it’s more dense than the Earth’s.  The surface of Titan is water ice with liquid hydrocarbon lakes and rivers.  It rains and snows ethane and methane.  While Earth has a water cycle, Titan has a hydrocarbon cycle.  Titan even has cryovolcanoes that may be active.  The composition of the atmosphere is said to be similar to early Earth’s, which makes a lot of people excited.  However, Titan is extremely cold.  There’s also likely a subsurface liquid water ocean, so it could be similar to Europa in that aspect.  But on the surface, it’s unlikely we’ll find any life similar to what’s on Earth.  Chances of life now?  Probably low, but if there is any, it’s probably unrecognisable.

Enceladus

Enceladusstripes_cassiniThis small moon of Saturn has made planetary scientists very excited.  It may be small, but it’s active.  It has liquid water under the surface.  We know this almost for certain, because it has hundreds of cryovolcanoes in the south polar region spraying out water vapour and other substances such as salt (NaCl).  It could have a large salty underground ocean.  Organic compounds have also been detected, which makes it an even better candidate for life.  Chances of life now? There’s a decent chance, quite similar to Europa.

So, which places have the best chances of life now?  I think Europa is number one, though Enceladus may have a good chance, as well as Titan.  All three likely have subsurface liquid water oceans.  In the past, Mars could very well have had life.  We just need to find the fossils if it did.  However, in all cases, it’s quite possible that life is single cellular, though Europa’s got a remote chance of multicellular life.

So, with this said, what do you think now?  Where do you think life could be hiding?  Or do you disagree with me?  Let me know in the comments.

Where Could Life Exist in the Solar System?

It’s an exciting year in space exploration as Ceres is now being investigated and Pluto will be seen for the first time in July. These may also be the last large objects to be explored in the solar system for a very long time.  But not to worry, the only other large objects are quite far away, though I’d love to see Eris and Haumea especially.

However, part of what makes Ceres exciting is the prospect of life, or the small possibility of it being habitable by very marginalised life.  There are several candidates in the solar system that have the potential to support life:

  • Mars is quite promising, but mainly in the past.
  • Ceres needs to be examined more first.
  • Europa has liquid water oceans.
  • Titan is a very different world, but has conditions similar to early Earth.
  • Enceladus also likely has liquid water under the surface.

These five are of particular interest at the moment.  Which world do you think is most likely to support life?  Vote in the poll below and leave a comment explaining your choice.  I’ll make a post later on examining each of these worlds and making my own conclusion.

A Wishlist for Solar System Exploration

Space exploration has been quite exciting in recent years.  Mercury, Venus, the Moon, Mars, and Saturn currently have probes in orbit or on the surface.  There are probes en route to Pluto, Ceres, Mars, and Jupiter.  There are planned probes to Venus, Mars, the Moon, asteroids,  and Jupiter’s moons.  There’s a lot going on.  However, I feel there could be more.

I have six missions in mind that I would like to see happen.  These are currently not planned, but some have been discussed in recent years.

240px-Venus_globeVenus Lander and Flyer

Venus currently has an orbiter, and has had several orbiters and landers in the past.  It has been completely mapped by radar, and the atmosphere is currently being studied.  Although there have been landings in the past by the Soviet space program, those landers succumbed to Venus’ incredibly high temperatures and volatile atmosphere.  I’d like to see a lander built to survive on the surface and provide us with several weeks of data.  I’d also like to see a flyer that can observe both the atmosphere and the landscape.  Maybe it can also see lightning.

Europa-moonEuropa Lander

Galileo studied Europa, and there’s currently a probe on its way to Jupiter to study the planet, as well as the Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer planned to launch in 2022, but nothing planned to land on Europa.  This is one of those places in our solar system that may have life.  It has a liquid ocean under its icy crust, and that ocean is covering a silicate mantle.  It’s quite possible that it could be geologically active with hot smokers like in Earth’s oceans, where microbial life may exist.  But we have to be careful not to contaminate the world if we drill through the ice into the ocean.

Titan_natural_colorTitan Lander

Saturn’s largest moon has already been visited by a lander, the Huygens probe, but it only lasted a short time.  Cassini has done a great job seeing through the clouds to study this remarkably Earth-like moon’s hydrocarbon lakes in the polar regions.  Titan needs a dedicated lander that can study the conditions for a much longer time.  Perhaps a flyer would be useful, as well.  I’d love to see some of Titan’s landscapes.

240px-Uranus2Uranus Orbiter

Uranus has only been visited once, by Voyager 2.  This is a fascinating planet that’s sitting on its side.  It has a ring system and plenty of very interesting moons, like Miranda, Titania, Ariel, Umbriel, and Oberon.  This is a system that needs to be studied up close by a dedicated orbiter.  We also need to understand more about the interior of the planet, as it’s most likely very ice.  It’s called an ice giant, not a gas giant.

244px-NeptuneNeptune Orbiter

The other ice giant, Neptune, has also been visited by Voyager 2.  This planet has a more dynamic-looking atmosphere, but most of the moons are quite small.  However, it has a unique moon, Triton, that is likely to be a captured Kuiper Belt object.  It’s also geologically active.  The most distant planet in the solar system needs an orbiter.

Eris_and_dysnomia2Eris Probe

The largest dwarf planet (larger than Pluto) should be explored in the future, as well.  It’s a lot farther away than Pluto, but it could be reachable by a probe within our lifetime, I hope.  Pluto will be explored next year, but I’d love to see what Eris is like, too.  What is a world so far away like?  It would be amazing to see it.

These are the missions I would love to see in my lifetime.  I’m anxious to know about these worlds.  What would you like to see?