Artist’s conception of water vapor plume erupting from the icy surface of Europa, a moon of Jupiter, based on data from the Hubble Space Telescope. Credit: NASA/ESA/K. Retherford/SWRI

Workshop on the Potential for Finding Life in a Europa Plume
Wednesday, February 18, 2015
Location: NASA Ames Research Center
Building 152
Moffett Field, California

Convened by the Planetary Science Division
NASA Headquarters
Washington, DC

Hosted by
NASA Astrobiology Institute (NAI)
Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute (SSERVI)

Current Europa missions under study by NASA are focused on answering the question “Is Europa habitable?” However, the potential presence of water plumes on the satellite could present an opportunity to pursue the question “Is there life on Europa?” Answering this question is far more challenging because measurements currently possible may provide only ambiguous results from a mission that either orbits or flies by Europa at relatively high velocity. To that end, NASA’s Planetary Science Division is convening a workshop to consider strategies to investigate Europa’s putative plumes for evidence of life. Invitees will be asked to provide feedback to NASA on the following key questions:

What measurements are needed to detect and characterize the presence of life in an acquired sample?
What instrumentation is needed to perform these measurements, and what is the current flight readiness of such instruments?
What is the amount and nature of the sample needed by these instruments and what sample preparation is necessary?
What constraints does the required nature of the sample place on the sample acquisition process?
What challenges are present to acquiring the necessary sample and obtaining life-detection measurements from it from a cubesat(s) deployed by a Europa mission?

Abstract Submission:
Abstracts should be submitted through the Lunar and Planetary Institute (LPI) website.

The deadline for abstract submission is Tuesday, Jan. 27, 5pm CST (GMT-6). Submitters who do not already have an account on the LPI website will be required to set one up before they can submit an abstract.

Registration is free. All attendees, whether submitting an abstract or not, are requested to register at the following website:

Because the workshop is being held at a US federal facility, special provisions must be made for foreign participants (non-US citizens or non-Green Card holders). Such attendees should register promptly and follow the instructions on the registration website.

Although participation in person is encouraged, provision will be made for remote participation. Details on how to participate remotely will be provided in a subsequent announcement and posted along with other updated information, at

The workshop will be followed on Feb. 19-20 by a meeting of the Outer Planets Assessment Group that will also be held at the Ames Research Center.

Posted by: Soderman/SSERVI Staff
Source: NASA

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