archive: SETI FW: Life forms in Europa's surface ice?

SETI FW: Life forms in Europa's surface ice?

Larry Klaes ( )
Fri, 28 Aug 1998 14:41:17 -0400

Sent: Friday, August 28, 1998 12:42 PM
To: Multiple recipients of
Subject: RE: Life forms in Europa's surface ice?

Dear the ICEPICK Mailing List Members:

Hello, my name is Hajime Yano. I have recently enrolled this mailing list
and thought that I should identify myself in my first post.

I am a Japanese planetary scientist currently specializing in-situ
measurements of minor bodies and meteoroids by using spacecraft. At present I work at NASA/JSC as an NRC research associate to analyze microparticles captured on the Mir exterior by using aerogels, an ultra underdense material also to be used for the Stardust cometary dust sample return. Prior to joining JSC, I worked for meteoroid and space debris research (e.g. post flight analysis of Japan's first retrieved spacecraft SFU) as well as the MUSES-C asteroid sample return mission at ISAS, Japan.

So, I am a novice learner in the field of astrobiology and icy satellites.
Nevertheless, I am interested in both topics and since last year my
colleagues and I have formed a voluntary tiger team back in Japan to
brainstorm and eventually propose an Europan mission to search for
biological evidence in its sub-surface ocean. Our group consists of about a
dozen of scientists and grad students of universities, ISAS, NASDA, and
other related institutes in Japan.

In this regard, I have been very much encouraged to have found an active
group in U.S. with the similar objective like you. I wish to have useful
interaction, exchange of ideas and collaboration between us to reveal this
important scientific question in a next decade in the best possible way.

Regarding the recent post by Mr. Cohen, an idea to search of biological
evidence trapped inside the ice right above thermal vents (thus do not
require extensive excavation of ice, as long as you can avoid surface
contamination and mixture with regolith bombarded by meteoroids and
irradiated by cosmic rays, etc.) has been in fact presented by our group at
this year's COSPAR held at Nogoya, Japan. It will soon be refereed for
publication in Advances in Space Research. The paper is entitled "Mission
to Europa's Sub-Surface Ocean and Search for Its Possible Biological
Evidence" authored by Akiyama, et al. Of course, this scenario stands on
several assumptions that are yet to be reconfirmed but I felt I should
inform you that such an idea has already presented in an academic society.

Thank you for your attention. I look forward to learning more through the
ICEPICK team and making some contributions to the group however small.



Hajime YANO, Ph.D.
NRC Research Associate
Earth Sciences and Solar System Exploration Division
Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Houston, Texas 77058, U.S.A.
TEL: +1-281-244-5018
FAX: +1-281-483-5347

> ----------
> From: Larry Klaes[]
> Reply To:
> Sent: Wednesday, August 26, 1998 11:37 AM
> To: Multiple recipients of
> Subject: Life forms in Europa's surface ice?
> From Chip Cohen of Boston University:
> ----------
> From:
> Sent: Wednesday, August 26, 1998 10:58 AM
> To:
> Subject: Re: Something a bit different...
> Larry--
> Its far simpler than that.
> Europa has 'geysers' caused by thermal events--presumably volcanic. This
> will
> churn up an biotic material, where it will eventually be refrozen into the
> ice.
> Ergo there is no need to break the surface; just melt some of the surface
> ice.
> You will find dead, simple life forms.
> Life is a virus-like quantity once it takes hold. Its detritus will
> permeate
> everything with enough time.
> Say; maybe we should publish this:-)
> Chip