Friday, May 29, 2015

Is Jupiter's Moon Europa Habitable? 9 Ways We Will Find Out

Friday, May 29, 2015

Is Jupiter's Moon Europa Habitable? 9 Ways We Will Find Out




At the beginning of the year, NASA got some exciting news from the Obama Administration: The space agency is finally getting funding to send a probe to Jupiter’s moon Europa by the mid-2020s. With a subsurface ocean suspected to be lingering underneath its icy crust, Europa is one of the top candidates in our solar system for finding extraterrestrial life. And NASA hopes its probe can figure out if conditions are right for little aliens to exist.

To do that, the space agency needs the right instruments to study the environment surrounding the icy moon. NASA’s proposed Europa Clipper mission won’t be landing on Europa but will be “clipping” the space rock, swooping into its atmosphere 45 times over the course of two-and-a-half years. During these flybys, the various instruments attached to the clipper probe will gather as much data as possible before the probe dips back out again.

NASA hopes to answer the biggest question of all: Is Europa habitable?

Today NASA announced just what these integral instruments will be. According to the agency, 33 different proposals were considered for the probe, which were ultimately narrowed down to nine. All the instruments will work in tandem to answer looming questions about Europa: How deep and salty is the ocean? How thick and active is the moon’s ice shell? What’s that brown gunk we see in all the Europa pictures?

The answers to these questions, NASA says, could help answer the biggest question of all: Is Europa habitable?

Unfortunately, none of the nine instruments are designed to detect life directly. According to Curt Niebur, Europa program scientist at NASA Headquarters, the scientists at NASA couldn’t decide on an instrument that could best measure something that significant. “What became clear is we don’t have a life detector,” said Neibur at a press conference. “We don’t have consensus in the scientific community what we’d measure to say that this thing you’re looking at is alive.” Some instruments do claim to detect signatures of life, though contact with the planet is necessary.

Check out the nine instruments below and why NASA says they deserve a ride aboard the Europa Clipper.

Interior Characterization of Europa using Magnetometry (ICEMAG): a magnetometer designed to measure the magnetic field of Europa. According to NASA, understanding the moon’s magnetosphere will be like taking an MRI of the interior structure of Europa.

Plasma Instrument for Magnetic Sounding (PIMS): This instrument works in conjunction with ICEMAG to measure the plasma currents surrounding Europa. This could help the space agency get a better understanding of Europa's ocean depth, its salinity, and a heavily debated topic in the scientific community--the thickness of the moon's ice crust.

Mapping Imaging Spectrometer for Europa (MISE): An infrared spectrometer that measures the spectra (those squiggly lines) on Europa's surface. Spectra lines act like unique fingerprints, indicating the materials that have been on Europa's surface. One particular area of interest for NASA is figuring out what those lines of brown gunk are made of. These brown areas are associated with the youngest areas on Europa's surface, which means they could be material that have recently erupted up from underneath the ice.

Bizarre features on Europa's icy surface suggest a warm interior

Europa Imaging System (EIS): NASA is hoping to get some amazing photos of Europa's surface by equipping their probe with both a wide and narrow angle camera. Together, they'll snap images of the moon at 164-foot resolution, getting super high-res pictures of the various ridges and unique surface features of Europa.

Radar for Europa Assessment and Sounding: Ocean to Near-surface (REASON): Ice penetrating radar for looking at the structures underneath the ice crust. This will give NASA a better idea of how structures underneath the ice have changed through time. There is also strong evidence to support the presence of lakes within the ice shelves, close to the crust's surface, and this radar will help verify if they exist.

Europa Thermal Emission Imaging System (E-THEMIS): A thermal imager for detecting heat. This instrument will find the "hot spots" on Europa, which may indicate where the moon is most active. By hot spots, NASA means places that are slightly higher than Europa's average temperature of -260 degrees Fahrenheit.

Artist concept of a plume of water
vapor off the Jovian moon Europa
MAss SPectrometer for Planetary EXploration/Europa (MASPEX): This mass spectrometer will analyze Europa's atmosphere. The materials found in the space above the moon will serve as a good indication of the materials that can be found on the surface and in the subsurface ocean.

Ultraviolet Spectrograph/Europa (UVS): NASA is really interested in the possibility of plumes living on Europa. Recently the Hubble Space Telescope spied water vapor above one of the moon's poles, indicating the presence of these vents. The spectrograph will use ultraviolet light to hunt down these plumes and identify how active they are.

SUrface Dust Mass Analyzer (SUDA): The dust analyzer will work similarly to the mass spectrometer, measuring the particles ejected from the plumes identified by the spectrograph.

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How to Digitally Record/Video a UFO sighting:

Como registar digitalmente ou gravar um vídeo de um avistamento de um UFO:

Stabilize the camera on a tripod. If there is no tripod, then set it on top of a stable, flat surface. If that is not possible lean against a wall to stabilize your body and prevent the camera from filming in a shaky, unsteady manner.

Estabilize a camera com um tripé. Se não tiver um tripé, então coloque-a em cima de uma superfície estável. Se não for possível, então encoste-se a uma parede para estabilizar o corpo e evitar que a camera registe de maneira tremida e instável.

Provide visual reference points for comparison. This includes the horizon, treetops, lampposts, houses, and geographical landmarks (i.e., Horsetooth Reservoir, Mt. Adams, etc.) Provide this in the video whenever is appropriate and doesn’t detract from what your focus is, the UFO.

Forneça pontos visuais de referência para comparação. Isso inclui o horizonte, cimo das árvores, postes de iluminação, pontos de referência geográficos (como o Reservatório de Horsetooth, Mone Adams, etc) Forneça esses pontos no vídeo sempre que for apropriado e não se distraia do que é o seu foco, o UFO/a Nave.

Narrate your videotape. Provide details of the date, time, location, and direction (N,S,E,W) you are looking in. Provide your observations on the weather, including approximate temperature, windspeed, any visible cloud cover or noticeable weather anomalies or events. Narrate on the shape, size, color, movements, approximate altitude of the UFO, etc and what it appears to be doing. Also include any unusual physical, psychological or emotional sensations you might have. Narrate any visual reference points on camera so they correlate with what the viewer will see, and thereby will be better able to understand.

Faça a narração do vídeo. Forneça pormenores sobre a data, hora, local e direcção (Norte, Sul, Este, Oeste) que está a observar. Faça observações sobre as condições atmosféricas, incluindo a temperatura aproximada, velocidade do vento, quantidade de nuvens, anomalias ou acontecimentos meteorológicos evidentes. Descreva a forma, o tamanho, a cor, os movimentos, a altitude aproximada onde se encontra o UFO/nave, etc e o que aparenta estar a fazer. Inclua também quaisquer aspectos pouco habituais de sensações físicas, psicológicas ou emocionais que possa ter. Faça a narração de todos os pontos de referência visual que o espectador irá ver e que, deste modo, será capaz de compreender melhor.

Be persistent and consistent. Return to the scene to videotape and record at this same location. If you have been successful once, the UFO sightings may be occurring in this region regularly, perhaps for specific reasons unknown, and you may be successful again. You may also wish to return to the same location at a different time of day (daylight hours) for better orientation and reference. Film just a minute or two under “normal” circumstances for comparison. Write down what you remember immediately after. As soon as you are done recording the experience/event, immediately write down your impressions, memories, thoughts, emotions, etc. so it is on the record in writing. If there were other witnesses, have them independently record their own impressions, thoughts, etc. Include in this exercise any drawings, sketches, or diagrams. Make sure you date and sign your documentation.

Seja persistente e não contraditório. Volte ao local da cena e registe o mesmo local. Se foi bem sucedido uma vez, pode ser que nessa região ocorram avistamentos de UFOs/naves com regularidade, talvez por razões específicas desconhecidas, e talvez possa ser novamente bem sucedido. Pode também desejar voltar ao mesmo lugar a horas diferentes do dia (durante as horas de luz)para ter uma orientação e referência melhor. Filme apenas um ,inuto ou dois em circunstâncias “normais” para ter um termo de comparação. Escreva tudo o que viu imediatamente após o acontecimento. Logo após ter feito o registo da experiência/acontecimento, escreva imediatamente as impressões, memórias, pensamentos, emoções, etc para que fiquem registadas por escrito. Se houver outras testemunhas, peça-lhes para registar independentemente as suas próprias impressões, pensamentos, etc. Inclua quaisquer desenhos, esbolos, diagramas. Certifique-se que data e assina o seu documento/testemunho.

Always be prepared. Have a digital camera or better yet a video camera with you, charged and ready to go, at all times. Make sure you know how to use your camera (and your cell phone video/photo camera) quickly and properly. These events can occur suddenly, unexpectedly, and often quite randomly, so you will need to be prepared.

Esteja sempre preparado, Tenha sempre uma camera digital, melhor ainda, uma camera vídeo consigo, carregada e pronta a usar sempre que necessário. Certifique-se que sabe como lidar com a sua camera (ou com o seu celular/camera fotográfica) rápida e adequadamente. Esses acontecimentos podem acontecer súbita e inesperadamente e, por vezes, acidentalmente, por isso, necessita estar preparado.

Look up. Be prepared. Report. Share.

Olhe para cima, Esteja preparado, Relate, Partilhe.



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What time is Around the World?


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NGC - UFO's in EUROPE (Porugal included)

FEBRUARY 7, 2013 - 7:00PM EST

FEBRUARY 7, 2013 - 7:00PM EST