Ever since we could look up to the heavenly stars, one question has persisted: does life exist outside of Earth? If life does exist, would alien lifeforms look like us, behave like us, have similar technologies, similar anatomy and physiology, would we be able to communicate? Would they be complex organisms living off of carbon based systems? Or perhaps silicon? As we continue to ask these questions, others are dreaming up answers.
|Credit: NASA/JPL/DLR image|
This image shows one of the four largest moons orbiting Jupiter named Europa.
NASA wants to send a mission to Europa because of it has an icy outer layer with liquid water plumes.Craig Venter, founder of the J. Craig Venter Institute in San Diego, CA, aims to change the search for life on Mars as summarized in the Los Angeles Times article entitled: In the Mojave, a scientist-entrepreneur works to 're-create' Martians'. Venter believes his novel DNA sequencing invention will be able to remotely decode DNA found in soil or water samples and send back the DNA code to a biosafety compliant laboratory just like a fax machine. From there, Venter and his team of researchers can rebuild the Martian utilizing the most advance scientific techniques of computational genomics, oligonucleotide synthesis and genome transplantation. Though Venter's idea sounds like science fiction, NASA's Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley have assisted Venter in trail experiments conducted in the Mojave desert. Are you Sci-Curious? Click to article for more!
Not only is the Venter Institute reaching to the stars, NASA has also announced that they will soon be requesting ideas for a mission to Europa as reported in the SpaceNews article NASA To Seek Ideas for $1 Billion Mission to Europa. NASA's California based Jet Propulsion Laboratory will be working in conjunction with Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory to engineer the next Europa Mission. Using the Hubble Space Telescope, researchers have taken notice to possible liquid-water plumes on the surface of the icy moon. The idea being put forth is to probe these liquid-water plumes for organic compounds. In reading the article NASA outlines past, current and future plans; the lesson is don't be afraid to think big and change your mind!
Written by Jacob Steenwyk
Edited by Cynthia Joseph