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June 10, 1997:
A Gergen dialogue
with William Broad about his book "The Universe Below."
April 10, 1997:
NASA scientists explain the
findings from Europa.
Browse the NewsHour's science
Browse stories from the New York Times by William J. Broad and others on Europa. (note:
free, but registration is required.)
Browse Simon & Schusters' page on "The Universe Below: Discovering the Secrets of the Deep Sea."
Online NewsHour asks:
Why Europa? What's special about that moon that makes scientist
believe that it could be a place where life exists? Where else in
the solar system could we find life?
William Broad responds:
It's the focus of the moment because it appears
to have so much water at the surface, perhaps down to a depth of 60 miles
or more. No other rocky moon or planet appears to have so much water (the
Earth's ocean at most is 7 miles deep!) and at the same time appears to
be geologically alive, which is a prerequisite on the dim fringes of the
solar system for inner heat and melted water ice. Theorists now predict
that perhaps 10 rocky moons and planets in our solar system might harbor
microbial life thriving in dark ecosystems, powered by inner heat. Mars
is such a candidate. But only Europa and a few other bodies are thought
to have water sufficient to support large aliens, if they exist.