NASA plans a robotic mission to search for life on Europa | io9
It looks like it’s finally going to happen, an actual mission to Jupiter’s icy moon Europa — one of the the solar system’s best candidates for hosting alien life.
Yesterday, NASA announced an injection of $17.5 billion from the federal government (down by $1.2 billion from its 2010 peak). Of this, $15 million will be allocated for “pre-formulation” work on a mission to Europa, with plans to make detailed observations from orbit and possibly sample its interior oceans with a robotic probe. Mission details are sparse, but if all goes well, it could be launched by 2025 and arriving in the early 2030s.
This is incredibly exciting. Recent evidence points to a reasonable chance of habitability. Its massive subsurface ocean contains almost twice as much water as found on Earth. The water is kept in liquid state owing to the gravitational forces exerted by Jupiter and the moon’s turbulent global ocean currents. The good news is that a probe may not have to dig very deep to conduct its search for life; the moon’s massive plumes are ejecting water directly onto the surface.
Artistic microscope slides produced in the Victorian era (1840~1900) by arranging hundreds of tiny diatoms into intricate patterns. This was often accomplished by using a single hair to move the diatoms in a special chamber that prevented disturbance to the slide. The fabrication of these amazing objects must have required incredible patience, attention to detail, and a steady hand.
what was once before you – an exciting, mysterious future – is now behind you. lived; understood; disappointing. you realize you are not special. you have struggled into existence, and are now slipping silently out of it. this is everyone’s experience. every single one. the specifics hardly matter. everyone’s everyone. so you are adele, hazel, claire, olive. you are ellen. all her meager sadnesses are yours; all her loneliness; the gray, straw-like hair; her red raw hands. it’s yours. it is time for you to understand this.
as the people who adore you stop adoring you; as they die; as they move on; as you shed them; as you shed your beauty; your youth; as the world forgets you; as you recognize your transience; as you begin to lose your characteristics one by one; as you learn there is no-one watching you, and there never was, you think only about driving – not coming from any place; not arriving any place. just driving, counting off time. now you are here, at 7:43. now you are here, at 7:44. now you are…
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This is beautiful, I love it and miss it.