What If Europa, The Best Bet For Alien Life, Was Our Moon?

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As known by most, Europa is one of the most likely candidates for extraterrestrial life. We also know Europa as the icy moon of Jupiter, but what would happen if it was the Earth's moon instead of Jupiter's? How would that affect the likelihood of finding life on this moon?

Are you ready to brainstorm?

At first sight, it looks like a completely frozen, motionless, and dead moon.

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However, what interests us is not on the surface, but in the gigantic ocean hidden under the surface. It is thought that this ocean is bigger than all of the water bodies on Earth combined. We found out about the existence of this ocean by detecting its magnetic field.

What created this ocean is the gravitational relationship Europa has with the surrounding celestial bodies.

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Otherwise, it is impossible to find liquid water in a celestial body that is so far away from the Sun. Thankfully, Europa's gravitational force with Jupiter, Callisto, Ganymede, and Io is strong enough. The heat energy resulting from the gravitational relationship makes it possible that the water can be in liquid form.

Now that we know enough about Europa, let's think about what would happen if it was the Earth's moon?

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First of all, the ice on Europa would start melting. Moreover, as the moon doesn't have an atmosphere (it actually does, but it is too thin to be effective in any way), the ice would turn directly into the gas, skipping the liquid form. As a result of this solid to a gas phase, Europa would have a thicker and more useful atmosphere.

Later on, as it doesn't have a magnetic field protection, water molecules would be ripped apart by the radiation that melted the ice; and hydrogen and oxygen would be separated

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This radiation process would ironically form a temporary magnetic field around the moon; which means that some photons coming from the Sun would be bombarding the moon, and some assume would have a protective duty.

Over time, there would be a state of balance between ionization due to radiation and magnetic field force.

www.nasa.gov

And that would be the moment when everything looks perfect. A huge world of water, rich in oxygen... It does really sound nice enough to host life, but unfortunately this state of perfection wouldn't last long. As Europa lacks a geomagnetic field, (unlike our awesome planet Earth), it would gradually  start losing its new atmosphere.

And over time, it would all be a small, rocky moon, which lost all its air and water.

www.space.com

Europa would even be much smaller than our Moon after losing the water that takes up most of its volume. This promising icy moon would sadly get beaten by Sun winds. A much sadder and cosmic version of trees losing their leaves in fall.

In summary, Europa is beautiful where it is.

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It is too small to be close to us and it belongs by Jupiter. That region is perfect for icy moons or planets to form. The same applies to Titan, which has liquid methane lakes. If Titan was closer to us, it too would lose its liquid mass and its atmosphere.

Long story short, the vicinity of our world is too tough for the moons that want to support life.

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They are too weak and small to survive here. Despite its glory, Our cosmos is a tough place to survive or even start living.

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