When — or if — NASA finds life on Mars, the world may not be ready for the discovery, the agency chief says
NASA’s next mission to Mars will be its most advanced yet. But if scientists discover there was once life — or there is life — on the Red Planet, will the public be able to handle such an extraterrestrial concept?
Although Jupiter’s moon Europa looks alien to us, it contains an ingredient familiar to us: sodium chloride, otherwise known as good ol’ table salt.
It’s also a main component of sea salt. Europa is one of the intriguing water worlds in our solar system and potentially a place where life could exist in a subsurface ocean. The discovery of sodium chloride means Europa’s ocean could look more like those on Earth and even possibly include salt. Now, astronomers may have to think differently about the composition of Europa’s ocean.
Now’s your chance to name a moon, but don’t get your hopes up — Moony McMoonFace is not in the running. Researchers at the Carnegie Institution for Science have implemented some pretty strict rules for their contest asking for the public’s help in naming Jupiter’s newly discovered moons.
Like a hit-and-run driver who races from the scene of a crash, the interstellar guest known as ’Oumuamua has bolted out of the solar system, leaving confusion in its wake. Early measurements seemed to indicate that it was an asteroid — a dry rock much like those found orbiting between Mars and Jupiter. Then by this past summer, astronomers largely came around to the conclusion that it was instead a comet — an icy body knocked out of the distant reaches of a far-off planetary system.
Astronomers around the world are trying to track down a small, fast-moving object that is zipping through our solar system.
Is a comet? An asteroid? NASA’s not sure. The space agency doesn’t even know where it came from, but it’s not behaving like the local space rocks and that means it may not be from our solar system.