According to scientists, there are relatively good chances that alien life is hiding on Ganymede, one of the Jovian moon’s which has the largest ocean in the Solar System.
The Juice mission is set to fly over the Jovian moon in order to study with its onboard radar the deep mass of groundwater on Ganymede.
The Jovian moon is of great importance since the largest ocean in the entire Solar System is not on Earth but on Ganymede.
If it were not for the fact that this celestial body is clearly a satellite of the giant planet, it could perfectly pass through as a planet itself.
In fact, with it’s more than 5,200 km of diameter, Ganymede is even larger than Mercury and only slightly smaller than Mars.
In March of 2016, the Hubble Space Telescope also made an outstanding discovery, revealing the existence of a large saltwater ocean in Ganymede. And, as far as we know, the presence of liquid water is essential when it comes to searching for alien life in the solar system.
“This discovery marks a significant milestone, highlighting what only Hubble can accomplish,” said John Grunsfeld, now retired assistant administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters. “In its 25 years in orbit, Hubble has made many scientific discoveries in our own solar system. A deep ocean under the icy crust of Ganymede opens up further exciting possibilities for life beyond Earth.”
Now, experts believe that this Jovian moon could be one of the best places where alien life in our solar system could hide.
“We believe the ocean of Ganymede contains more water than on Europa,” explains Olivier Witasse, a scientist in charge of Juice (Jupiter Icy Moon Explorer), the mission of the European Space Agency that will explore Ganymede and Europa from 2020.
“There is six times as much water in the oceans of Ganymede than on Earth, and three times more than on Europa— the smallest of the four Galilean moons orbiting Jupiter, and the sixth-closest to the planet.”
Almost at the same time as the Juice mission fully explores Ganymede and Europa, another NASA mission, called Clipper, will focus on the study of this last moon.
In this way—and after the success of the Cassini mission to the icy moons of Saturn, in a couple of years, we will have a complete panorama of the “oceanic moons” that surround the largest planets in our system.
Hopefully, we’ll find alien life on one of those moons.
Ganymede—a moon which has its own magnetic field
Ganymede is by far the largest moon in the entire solar system and the only one that has its own magnetic field. This makes spectacular auroras at their poles. Because Ganymede is very close to Jupiter, it lies within the Jovian magnetic field, so that when Jupiter’s magnetic field changes, the aurorae on Ganymede also change.
According to initial reports, the Juice mission will bring ESA’s spacecraft relatively close to the Jovian moons, at distances between 200 and 1,000 km.
Scientists are excited about what we could find there.
The discovery of the huge body of water under the frozen landscape of Ganymede has multiplied, according to scientists, our chances of finding life without having to leave our own planetary system.