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Monthly Meeting: Extraterrestrial Life in the Solar System: Exploring Jupiter’s Icy Moons, by Bernard Bopp, professor of astronomy emeritus, Thursday September 21, 2023 – 7:00 pm

September 21 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

If we wish to identify extraterrestrial life in our solar system, a reasonable search strategy would be to “follow the water.” This strategy has shaped searches on Mars, where ancient riverbeds and surface minerals formed in water show that Mars was once Earthlike, with a much thicker atmosphere, flowing water, and warmer temperatures than today. But there are several other worlds in our solar system with deep subsurface oceans, opening the possibility that life might evolve in many places where liquid water exists.

The talk will focus on three of Jupiter’s “icy moons” — Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto, frozen- surface worlds with deep oceans below. Two exciting spacecraft missions will head toward Jupiter to explore these ice/ocean worlds:

• JUICE (Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer), launched by the European Space Agency in April 2023, and arriving at Jupiter in 2031.

• Europa Clipper, a NASA mission scheduled for launch in October 2024, arriving at Jupiter in 2030.

The presentation will highlight spacecraft designs and the science expected from both missions. It is appropriate for general, non-scientific audiences.


September 21
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Event Category:


Eugene Science Center Planetarium
2300 Leo Harris Pkwy
Eugene, OR 97401 United States
(541) 682-7888