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Afternoon Astronomy Coffee Hangout on 8 June

Monday, June 5, 2017 - 09:15

"Europa: Does it have a sea harboring life?"

Europa is an intriguing icy moon that orbits Jupiter. It is a little bit smaller than the Earth's moon but may have an ocean of water under an icy surface that may have a rocky sea floor. The surface of Europa has many fractures criss-crossing it. It whips around Jupiter in about 3 1/2 days and has tides that stretch it due to the variation of Jupiter's gravity since Europa is in a slightly elliptical orbit. Observations of Europa have indicated there are "warmer" areas on its surface, and observations with the Hubble Space Telescope suggest that there are salty water plumes venting occasionally near the southern portion of the body. All of these factors suggest that Europa might be an interesting place to look for life. Scientists would like to have a mission to explore Europa and land on the surface.

Join regular hosts Tony Darnell and Carol Christian on Thursday, 8 June, at 3:00 pm ET as they chat with Melissa McGrath (SETI) and collaborators about this intriguing moon, the possibility of life on it, and studies that could lead to a NASA "Europa Express" mission. The best place to hangout with us will be on YouTube, broadcast on the Deep Astronomy Channel. The direct link to view this hangout will also be posted on the Deep Astronomy Facebook page. During the hangout, you can take part in the live chat and join the conversation on Twitter with #AstroCoffee. An archive of previous hangouts in this series may be found in the Deep Astronomy YouTube playlist.

What Are "Afternoon Astronomy Coffee" and "Future in Space" Hangouts?

"Future In Space” and "Afternoon Astronomy Coffee" Hangouts are part of a weekly series, held every Thursday, that also includes a segment called "Footsteps to Mars." We bring the the latest research in astronomy, highlights from the future of space astronomy and astronautics planning, as well as updates on the exploration of Mars to you every week via Hangouts on Air. With the sponsorship of both the American Astronomical Society (AAS) and the American Astronautical Society (the other AAS), our hosts Tony Darnell, Carol Christian, Alberto Conti, and Harley Thronson examine today's breakthroughs in research and peer into the unfolding possibilities of what we may learn about the universe and Mars exploration. We join with members of the American Astronomical Society to chat, in an informal online setting modeled after "science coffee" events held in universities and research organizations across the country. We will examine what we hope to learn about exoplanets, black holes, the early universe, quasars, and life in the universe along with what technologies might help us — and reflect upon the scientific endeavors occurring today that uncover amazing astrophysics and lay the groundwork for studies to come.

We will also explore the technology and engineering used today as well as possibilities for future space travel and research with members of both societies, and probe what our future in space may look like and how we might get there. We will examine the underlying technologies of space telescopes, orbiters, landers, and human space vehicles now and in the years to come. We will delve into topics that help us understand the possibilities and limitations of human space flight and eventual human colonization of other worlds.

We hope you can join us each month as we bring experts from both societies — people who think about and plan for our future in space — to your computer, tablet, or smartphone. We invite you to bring your questions and comments and get ready to learn about the amazing possibilities for the future of space astronomy and exploration.

Carol A. Christian
Astronomer
STScI and CEM
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