627 million km (390 million mi) from Earth, underneath the cold seas of Europa, a horrifying, and vastly intelligent creature lurks. Can our human minds even comprehend such an alien creature?
Actually yeah. It turns out it’s a lot like an octopus. Can Europa support life? Would we go looking for it? And how crazy do we sound right now?
OK, we promise you we haven’t totally lost our minds. The idea of octopus-like creatures inhabiting Europa comes from Open University Professor of Planetary and Space Science Monica Grady. She says that below Europa’s ice sheets, aliens that resemble octopuses may dwell.
That gets the imagination reeling. Let’s argue for a second that this theory is correct. Europa is one of Jupiter’s 79 known moons and is only 627 million km (390 million mi) from Earth.
It’s covered in ice, 24 km (15 mi) deep, with the possibility of liquid water underneath. This ice protects Europa from solar radiation and asteroid impacts. That’s all well and good, but here’s the kicker.
It’s believed Europa’s ocean floor has hydrothermal vents and sodium chloride in the water. What does that mean? Well, in short, they’re significant ingredients needed to support life. Europa contains the essential ingredients needed for life, water, chemistry, and energy.
Water is the big one because it dissolves nutrients for organisms to eat, transports chemicals within living cells, and allows those cells to eliminate waste.
And Europa isn’t exactly lacking in the water department. The ocean beneath the crust contains more water than Earth’s oceans. And to argue the alien idea more, there may be a rocky seafloor that could supply chemical nutrients to living organisms.
And in this case, it’s the octopus. Now, octopuses are weird. There’s no arguing that. I mean, we did a whole video on it. But some scientists say that because the evolutionary step from the nautiloid is so fuzzy, the only reasonable explanation is that they’re extraterrestrial. Does that mean they came from Europa?
If the news broke that we had octopuses swimming up there on Europa, how would we react? Well, it would spark a massive push for new space travel missions. If intelligent life like octopuses are as close to us as Jupiter, what else is out there?
There may be a push to search for planets that could support humans. But here’s the downside. The more we venture into space, the greater the risks. I’m talking about bringing something back.
Now, I’m not talking about the Xenomorph here. I’m talking about a harmful microbe or virus that may be harmful to human health or even our ecosystem. We would need to put some serious thought into the pros and cons of regular space travel. We would also need to have advanced protocols and laws to prevent contamination of both Earth and other planets.
Because we deal with quarantines so well, right? So, are there octopus-like creatures living on Europa? I mean, maybe? We still think that octopuses are Earthly, even if they’re a little weird.
But even if there aren’t any tentacled neighbors, we won’t know until we look. Humans need to continue exploring space. I mean, it is the next step. We’re growing in numbers, in mental capacity, and definitely in curiosity.
But what if we didn’t go looking for these alien octopuses? What if they are already here? What if the octopuses we all know and love today, really are from outer space?
- “‘Racing certainty’ there’s life on Europa, says leading UK space scientist”. 2021. phys.org.
- “Ingredients for Life?”. 2021. NASA’s Europa Clipper.
- “Alien Life Could Be Hiding Out On Far Fewer Planets Than We Thought | Live Science”. 2021. livescience.com.
- “5 Reasons The Octopus Is The Coolest Animal In The Sea – Ocean Conservancy”. Erin, Spencer. 2016. Ocean Conservancy.
- “Europa: Facts About Jupiter’s Icy Moon And Its Ocean”. Elizabeth, Howell. 2021. space.com.