Jupiter’s moon Europa, somewhat smaller than Earth’s moon, may have surface water and organic chemicals, researchers say. Looking beyond the promising signs:
Note: Of course, Europa could have all the ingredients for life without life. But here’s a thought: Theoretical astrophysicist Ethan Siegel has pointed out at Forbes: that our universe is fine-tuned for life, for our existence: “The fact that our Universe has such a perfect balance between the expansion rate and the energy density — today, yesterday, and billions of years ago — is a clue that our Universe really is finely tuned.” (December 19, 2019)
So is our solar system, according to astronomer Hugh Ross. His focus is on the good fortunes of Earth — but Europa shares at least some key features with Earth. Perhaps it is fine-tuned too.
Of course, the fine-tuning of our solar system has led to “philosophical disquiet,” as planetary scientists Tim Elliott and Sarah T. Stewart put it at Nature in 2013 — the inevitable question being “Why?”
But finding life in the subsurface oceans of Europa would probably shift the focus from Why? to Where else? in a hurry.News, “Why scientists think there might be life on Europa” at Mind Matters News (May 28, 2022)
Europa, despite being outside the conventional “habitable zone,” may be a better bet for life than Mars. The launch of the Clipper in 2024 will tell us more.
Takehome: An intelligent design approach to the universe is a better bet for finding life elsewhere than Darwinian randomness is.
You may also wish to read: NASA develops a scale for assessing the chances of ET life We’ve come a long way from mere snatches of (maybe) information to the need for standards in evaluating the expected incoming mass. The idea is to give media some idea of the level of confidence in what the apparent signal might be telling us — biological activity or just chemistry?