back to article ALIEN LIFE drenched in HOT FLUID on Jupiter's Ganymede – is that so?

The Hubble space telescope is usually eyeing up far away galaxies, but a novel technique has allowed it to peer inside the largest moon in our Solar System – and find signs of water. Jupiter's Ganymede is massive, about twice the size of Earth's moon, and has both an iron core and its own magnetosphere. Just as with Earth, …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What's lurking...?

    By the appearance of the pic, I think that's the back of Ballmer's head (but I'm not sure how big the moon is, need scale).

    1. Malc

      Re: What's lurking...?

      Does my moon look big in this?

      Bigger than our moon.

      Ganymede's just under half of Earth's radius, giving it about a tenth of the surface area.

      Hope that helps.

  2. Winkypop Silver badge
    Devil

    An ocean supporting life - although only in its most basic form

    A bit like Blackpool then?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: An ocean supporting life - although only in its most basic form

      Too fast for me, I saw the same and thought, I wonder if that and some impact could explain the Daily Mail.

  3. MacroRodent Silver badge
    Alien

    Watery solar system

    "Liquid water outside of Earth is very rare indeed, "

    Not sure if we can say so any more. We now have strong evidence of three moons having ice-covered oceans (Europa, Ganymede and Enceladus), and there might be even more. Suppose we eventually find most of the liquid water in the solar system is not on Earth...

    Several old sci-fi stories revolved around the idea that water is very rare outside Earth (like the TV series "V"(1983) where the aliens came to steal Earth's water). They seem quite dated now!

    1. Wilseus

      Re: Watery solar system

      That's what I was going to say. It's actually looking fairly commonplace! Liquid water is also hypothesised to exist underneath Charon's crust as well (but not Pluto for some reason I can't remember.)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Watery solar system

      There is no strong evidence. It;s just that the facts of the aurora is not following errant models. 95 miles under the surface of a moon millions of miles away? Find something to help solve our problems on earth.. like food distribution!!

      1. Little Mouse Silver badge

        Re: Watery solar system

        Just for that - I'm hoping that this line of work culminates in the discovery that Ganymede is actually chock-full of tasty space-faring fish.

      2. cray74

        Re: Watery solar system

        " Find something to help solve our problems on earth.. like food distribution!!"

        Food distribution is technologically and logistically solved. It is inexpensive to ship millions of tons of staples around the world, or deliver fresh fish affordably to the interior of continents. There's nothing for NASA and astronomers to contribute to food distribution, not even their research budgets.

        The problems with food distribution waiting to be solved include, but are not limited to, the following non-technological issues:

        1) Hungry nations refusing food aid (typically for inane reasons)

        2) Rich nations refusing to provide direct food aid under the belief (right or wrong) that it will turn hungry nations into dependents

        3) Hungry nations continuing to use low-productivity farming techniques because they can't afford mechanized farming, or can't support mechanized farming

        4) Rich nations trying to avoid destroying local agricultural industry, the way the US destroyed Afghanistan's wheat farms with cheap food aid and drove the farmers to opium.

        And so on.

        Taking money from a scientist studying Ganymede to research a solved technological problem is a wasteful reinvention of the wheel, especially when the remaining issues are not technological.

  4. AbelSoul
    Pint

    Outstanding piece of boffinry

    "If you observe the aurorae in an appropriate way, you learn something about the magnetic field. If you know the magnetic field, then you know something about the moon's interior."

    Cap well and truly d'offed.

    95 miles under the surface though? "Cat, are you drilling?"

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Outstanding piece of boffinry

      >"Cat, are you drilling?"

      Cat, drilling in space, near Jupiter, Mining Corp... I so thought that was going to be a link to a Red Dwarf clip!

  5. Ugotta B. Kiddingme

    With apologies to The Police

    "it's likely Ganymede's hot iron core, and the proximity to Jupiter, will keep the sea rather warm. Under such conditions life could be a possibility, although only in its most basic form."

    Many miles away

    Something crawls from the slime

    At the bottom of a dark [Ganymedean] lake...

    1. Wilseus

      Re: With apologies to The Police

      i love that song :)

  6. et tu, brute?
    WTF?

    Why?

    "Under such conditions life could be a possibility, although only in its most basic form."

    Why only in it's most basic form? Why couldn't it have developed/evolved in a totally different way than life as we know it, and be far from basic? Who defines the standard of what is considered "basic"?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why?

      The reasoning is probably that a lot of the complexity and diversity we see in life on Earth arose through there being a range of different environments here, with areas being temporary isolated from each other, and you presumably don't get that so much with an underground sea. However, it's an argument from lack of imagination, really, so not very convincing.

      1. DugEBug

        Re: Why?

        How can anything complex grow in an environment that is buried below miles of ice? Where do all the other necessities of complex life come from?

        1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          Re: Why?

          How can anything complex grow in an environment that is buried below miles of ice? Where do all the other necessities of complex life come from?

          From the same place that ocean-vent lifeforms on Earth get it - upwelling solutions chock-full of mineral ions and chemicals with stored energy. Even on this planet, with its tasty biosphere film in the easy-living zone of temperate-range surface and upper ocean level, has myriad extremophile organisms living far from solar radiation and the other goodies we enjoy.

          Of course, "basic" and "complex" are not terms of art here; they're arbitrary and subjective labels. But hydrothermal-vent dwellers on Earth are pretty complex, compared to the whole range of organisms. Tubeworms, clams, etc - we're talking large multicellular critters with a good array of specialized organs and the like.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      Re: Why?

      Precisely the question I had. Fortunately, I read all the comments before popping off. One minor quibble is that due to the smaller size but liquid core, it's likely to have greater exposure to radioactivity thus, perhaps, having a higher rate of mutations. That's even before sorting out the tidal influences from Jupiter mixing things up. Until we go there and look, and robotics doesn't get you too far along here, we'll never know. So far, we have rather limited sample size of known life-bearing worlds to draw from and a larger sample of worlds that we 'believe' do not bear any life at all. I don't like mixing beliefs into science.

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