Europa, a world full of water awaits us
The space industry is only in its infancy, but in a few decades could look with interest at the exploitation of resources on asteroids and satellites of the main planets of the solar system.
One of the most interesting celestial bodies could be Europa.
On the moon of Jupiter we will not go to look for gold or diamonds, but water: according to NASA, in fact, Europe could contain them in high quantities. Analyzing data from the Hawaii observatory, researchers have discovered that sudden spurts of water vapor rise from Europa.
Nasa: on Europa there is liquid water
These leaks of water vapor from the depths of Europe to the surface are not constant but in the form of short but powerful emissions. These are real geysers whose volume would be sufficient each time to fill an Olympic swimming pool with water.
Up to three times the water on Earth
Although so far there is no certainty, NASA astronomers think that Europe could hide under its icy surface a quantity of water equal to 2 or 3 times that present on Earth.
We should know more in a few years, thanks to the Europa Clipper which will lead a probe to carefully explore Jupiter's satellite.
A probe will do 45 orbits around the Jovian moon, using a whole arsenal of research tools including spectrometers, cameras with filters and radars to scan the thick icy shell of Europa.
Extraction facilities on Europe in the future?
If you think you will discover such a large water deposit, the satellite could become one of the main sources of water supply for future space colonies or for Earth itself in the next decades or centuries.
We need just an Elon Musk installing a first extraction plant on Europe but given the ever-increasing scarcity of water on Earth, it seems only a matter of time before someone tries. As long as science fiction has not already foreseen everything.
A curious science fiction anecdote
In the science fiction novel by Arthur C. Clarke, "2010 Odyssey Two" (sequel of "2001: A Space Odyssey", published in 1968), published in 1982 three years after the probes Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 had sent the first data of Jupiter and its satellites, including Europe, it is imagined that in the end of the story the computer Hal 9000 send one last message to Earth: "ALL THESE WORLDS ARE YOURS, EXCEPT EUROPA. ATTEMPT NO LANDING THERE. USE THEM TOGETHER. USE THEM IN PEACE." Would it be better to leave the moon of Jupiter in peace?