Is There Life on EUROPA

By: ralphbarrera

Nov 13 2008

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Category: Photojournalism

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Aperture:f/4
Focal Length:200mm
ISO:125
Shutter:1/160 sec
Camera:Canon EOS-1D Mark II N

University of Texas professor Dr. Donald Blankenship is one of the chief scientists on subsurface studies for a future planned space mission to Europa, one of the moons orbiting the massive planet Jupiter. He studies surfaces below the ice using radar much like his current studies in Antarctica. He is standing next to “Conamara Chaos”, a Galileo stereo photograph made of Eurpoa that uses color to show varying degrees of height on the surface. Eurpoa has long been considered the best prospect for other live in our solar system, since the moon is covered in ice, sitting atop water with the possibility of volcanic activity below. “It’s been amazing, politics really comes into play with science.” said Blankenship, who noticed a spike in interest when the Democrats assumed control of Congress in the 2006 elections. The mission, if accepted, will hopefully launch in 2020, with space travel adding another seven years till the orbital craft reaches Europa. “I’ll be an old man by then.” said Blankenship.

photo by Ralph Barrera/Austin American-Statesman

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