Europa Mission Heralds Sea Change in Search for Alien Life

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  • Britney Schmidt, School of Earth & Atmospheric Sciences Britney Schmidt, School of Earth & Atmospheric Sciences

It’s not something NASA likes to advertise, but ever since its creation in 1958, the space agency has only conducted one direct, focused hunt for extraterrestrial life—and that was more than 40 years ago. It happened in 1976, when the twin Viking landers touched down at separate sites on Mars to look for any signs of life lurking on the planet’s desolate, freeze-dried surface. Now, after decades of wandering in Martian deserts, NASA’s astrobiologists are at last preparing to rekindle a direct search for a “second genesis” of life in our solar system—but not where one might think. This time, they will look well beyond Mars, the most Earthlike of our planetary neighbors, to the dark reaches of the outer solar system. A new study co-authored by Britney Schmidt, a planetary scientist in the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, is helping NASA target Jupiter's moon Europa and its icy seas. 

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College of Sciences, School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Britney Schmidt, Europa, NASA, lander, extraterrestrial life
  • Created By: Renay San Miguel
  • Workflow Status: Published
  • Created On: Feb 20, 2017 - 5:24pm
  • Last Updated: Feb 21, 2017 - 10:56am