David Bowie once speculated about life on Mars, and now NASA scientists are wondering the same thing about Jupiter’s moon Europa.
A potential mission may soon be sending NASA scientists to the small, icy moon to search for signs of alien life, Space.com reports. NASA officials held a workshop Wednesday at the Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley to discuss the matter.
“This is our chance,” said NASA science chief John Grunsfeld. “I just hope we don’t miss this opportunity for lack of ideas.”
Specifically, scientists plan to search the plumes of water vapor, first spotted by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope in 2012, that blast from the moon’s south polar region. This will allow researchers to sample the liquid hidden beneath Europa’s icy surface.
Plans for a Europa mission have been in the works for years, but NASA got closer to making it a reality when the White House allocated $30 million for a Europa mission in its 2016 budget request.