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Europa and the possibilty of habitibility

  1. Apr 7, 2003 #1
    Hello,
    I was just thinking about the Ice moon of Jupiter called Europa. Wouldn't it be possible to live on Europa?
    Even if there isn't an ocean under the surface it would be possible to live there. The reason I say this is because on Mt.Rainier, the north and South Poles, and on another mountian in WA there are bunkers/ self sustaining research labs. The Mt.Baker research facility is where people actually go to train for Mt. Everest. Actually he weather conditions the lab is subjected to is much more harsh than on Everest.
    Now, I understand that we would have to endure the radiation from Jupiter. But this shouldn't be a problem since we could dig underthe ice or live in a type of ice cave. I'm not sure about the complete composition of Europa but I think there would be at least a mountian or two on the moon which might be possible habitation sites.
    What is everyone elses thoughts on this? I just threw this out there with not much thought. Any ideas or suggestions?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 7, 2003 #2

    russ_watters

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    One problem. No air.
     
  4. Apr 7, 2003 #3

    Phobos

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    Well said, Russ.
    The harshest places on Earth are more habitable for humans than anywhere else in the solar system. But we could live off-Earth if we can figure out how to build a proper bio-dome. So far, not much luck there. So, it's possible, but still a long way off.
     
  5. Apr 7, 2003 #4

    drag

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    You can extract oxygen from the ice for
    breathing. You can also use the water
    and separate oxygen and hydrogen for
    rocket fuel - all the usual usess suggested for
    water on other planets.

    Live long and prosper.
     
  6. Apr 7, 2003 #5

    FZ+

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    And...

    And isn't Europa said to have some volcanic activity, giving the possibility of geothermal power supplies?

    Or have I got things mixed up?
     
  7. Apr 7, 2003 #6

    drag

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    Re: And...

    Indeed (its core is further heated up by the
    "exciting" gravitational environment near Jupiter.)
    However, you'd have to go below the surface
    and then dive to the bottom of the ocean
    and even then - a geothermal power station
    is not something you can "pack" in an average
    sized spacecraft.

    Live long and prosper.
     
  8. Apr 8, 2003 #7

    russ_watters

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    Certainly. But that still makes Europa only marginally more "habitable" than say Mars.

    The implication of the opening post appeared to be that Europa was so "habitable" you could walk around on Europa wearing only a heavy coat and some mittens.
     
  9. Apr 8, 2003 #8

    drag

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    Heavy coat and some mittens ?! :frown:
    I kin'na had a pair of boxer-shorts and a
    Star Wars sleeveless shirt in mind !
    And you can bring your sub-glider for the
    sub-surface ocean with you !
     
  10. Apr 9, 2003 #9
    misunderstanding

    Actually it was really late when I posted this.
    I didnt mean you could just walk outside with some gloves and an overcoat. Not even the people on Mt.Baker can do such a thing since they would be blown away by the 100+ mph ice cold winds, low O2 count, and freezing cold weather. I definitely think that Europa is more habitable than Mars and far less dangerous. From what we know so far it has a warm center, undersurface ocean, and it's full of ice. It's possibilities are almost endless. It would be the perfect way-station for future deep space operations. The only problem would be Jupiters gravity field. From what I witnessed it do to a massive comet I'd hope it wouldnt do such a thing to a puny space craft. But then agan we could harness Jupiters gravity for propulsion to th outer rim of out solar system for mining operations.
    Europa = Ice and water planet. From the Ice and water you have fuel, air, water, and the possibility to produce life. The only other thing we need is soil samples from the bed of the ocean to see if we could grow plants on the bottom of it's ocean. Sure, we're not 100% sure that there is an ocean there but there is enough evidence supporting an ocean's existence.
    Just imagine if we did establish an outpost on Europa. It's perfectly centered in the middle of our Solar system so we could mine the asteroids, mine on different moons, and possibly establish a permenant settlement there in case earth got too crowded. Well, that last part might be too much since we have a moon right next to earth.
    As for already exsisting life on Europa, that still needs to be determined. I'm not sure how environmentalists would react if we established a base there since it might "harm" otherworldy life. heh
     
  11. Apr 9, 2003 #10

    russ_watters

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    Re: misunderstanding

    I wouldn't worry about Jupiter's gravity ripping apart a spaceship due to tidal forces. Tidal forces depend on the size of the object being acted on. The tidal forces on a 100 (or even 1000)ft long spacecraft would be miniscule.
    Ok, so you just mean it would be better suited to sustain a bio dome type colony. Fair enough.
     
  12. Apr 9, 2003 #11

    drag

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    Re: Re: misunderstanding

    Greetings !

    I would like to point out, however, that
    Europa's surface probably has considrably
    higher radiation conditions than the high
    radiation on Mars' surface. It is, after all,
    near Jupiter.

    Live long and prosper.
     
  13. Apr 10, 2003 #12
    Good point but

    You have a good point. The Europa orbiter was delayed until 2010 due to reconfigurations of the orbiter to withstand Jupiters bombardment of radiation on the moon. But with the right equpiment the radiation shouldnt be a problem but only on the surface.
    Europa is also .903 times the diameter of the moon thus making it have less gravity. This actually could be a good thing since launching probes and ships would be easier. The lower gravity could be a problem for settlement though since our bodies don't like lower gravity or at least near zero gravity.
    Wouldn't it be interesting if we did settle or establish a base on Europa and then the military took it over for having a base in space. It would kind of follow the Greek story that goes with the name of Europa. Europa would spawn the warriors Minos, Rhadamanthus, and Sarpedon. Anyway, thats an offshoot. Having history repeat itself. heh
    Anyway, Radiation wouldn't be a problem but the gravity might.
    Oh, earlier someone said that you couldnt fit a base into 1 ship. Of course youcouldnt but this type of project would parallel the new Earth orbiting space station. Each country would fund a different part or section to go up at different times. Once you have everything sitting on the planet and have made sure it's arrived in tact, you launch the construction party. If you've ever seen 5 marines construct a fully functional Operations Control center in under 1 hour then I think it would be easy for about 10 astronauts (might be too many) to construct a lego like base in low gravity in about 5 (might be too exagerated). Right now we have O2 generators to supply the O2, easy water sources, easy O2 sources. And if it's really necessary to protect themselves right away from incoming mini-meteorites then the astronauts can construct a makeshift igloo. lol j/k
    I'm sure it wouldnt get to be that serious.
    Here's an intesting thought, making the first Snowman in space.
    Sincerely,
    Rashid
     
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