NASA just detected water vapor on a moon of Jupiter — yet another clue that Europa’s hidden ocean could hold alien life | Alien life could be hidden in the salty ocean below Europa's surface. An upcoming NASA spacecraft will hunt for more clues.

NASA just detected water vapor on a moon of Jupiter — yet another clue that Europa’s hidden ocean could hold alien life

NASA just detected water vapor on a moon of Jupiter — yet another clue that Europa’s hidden ocean could hold alien life

NASA just detected water vapor on a moon of Jupiter — yet another clue that Europa’s hidden ocean could hold alien life

NASA just detected water vapor on a moon of Jupiter — yet another clue that Europa’s hidden ocean could hold alien life

NASA just detected water vapor on a moon of Jupiter — yet another clue that Europa’s hidden ocean could hold alien life

NASA just detected water vapor on a moon of Jupiter — yet another clue that Europa’s hidden ocean could hold alien life
NASA just detected water vapor on a moon of Jupiter — yet another clue that Europa’s hidden ocean could hold alien life
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An artist's rendering of NASA's Europa Clipper spacecraft.
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An artist’s rendering of NASA’s Europa Clipper spacecraft.
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NASA/JPL-Caltech

An icy moon of Jupiter is looking more and more like it could hold alien life deep in its subsurface sea.

On Monday, NASA announced that scientists had officially measured water vapor on the moon, called Europa, for the first time.

The discovery is yet another sign that Europa has all the right ingredients for aliens – given the right chemicals and a little deep-sea volcanic activity, it’s possible that life could spring up (or already has) deep in the saltwater ocean below Europa’s surface.

Here’s why scientists are increasingly looking to Europa in their hunt for alien life.


On Monday, NASA announced that scientists had measured water vapor on Europa for the first time.

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Half of Jupiter’s icy moon Europa as seen via images taken by NASA’s Galileo spacecraft in the late 1990s.
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NASA/JPL-Caltech/SETI Institute

NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope first spotted such water vapor on Europa in 2013, possibly erupting from geysers. But nobody had directly measured it until now.


The discovery is yet another clue that Europa could host alien life.

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Artist’s concept of a plume of water vapor ejected off Europa.
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NASA/ESA/K. Retherford/SWRI

“Essential chemical elements (carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, phosphorus, and sulfur) and sources of energy, two of three requirements for life, are found all over the solar system. But the third – liquid water – is somewhat hard to find beyond Earth,” Lucas Paganini, a NASA planetary scientist who led the research, said in a press release. “While scientists have not yet detected liquid water directly, we’ve found the next best thing: water in vapor form.”


Scientists have long suspected that Europa conceals an ocean below its icy surface — possibly with twice the volume of Earth’s oceans.

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Scientists think Europa’s ocean contains twice as much liquid water as Earth.
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Jenny Cheng and Skye Gould/Business Insider

Liquid water is promising, but it’s not enough. For life to arise, Europa needs two other ingredients: a few essential chemical elements, and a source of energy.

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An illustration of a submersible robot exploring the subsurface ocean of an icy moon.
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NASA/JPL-Caltech

The necessary chemical compounds seem to be abundant on the icy moon: Scientists think Europa first formed with carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus and sulfur.

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The thin, icy crust of Europa, blanketed in ice particles from a crater 1000 kilometers (620 miles) away. Minerals from water vapor paint the unblanketed surface a reddish brown. The colors in this picture were enhanced for visibility.
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NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

Asteroid impacts may have delivered even more life-giving elements.


In June, scientists spotted sodium chloride (also known as table salt) in Europa’s icy surface, indicating that the ocean below is more like Earth’s oceans than they previously thought.

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An artist’s concept of the ocean below Europa’s ice surface
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NASA/JPL-Caltech

Chemical reactions between this salt and rocks on the ocean floor could create nitrogen compounds, which are crucial in the formation of life.


But there’s one major problem: The sunlight that fuels life on Earth is 25 times fainter on Europa.

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An artist’s concept shows a simulated view from the potentially rough, icy surface of Jupiter’s moon Europa.
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NASA/JPL-Caltech

Even the most durable species on Earth, which have adapted to the most extreme conditions, would probably not survive on Europa.


But Europa’s oceans may be much warmer than its surface, thanks to its oval-shaped orbit around Jupiter.

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NASA’s Voyager 1 took this photo of Jupiter and two of its moons, Io (left) and Europa (right), on February 13, 1979.
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NASA/JPL

Because it’s tidally locked, like our own moon, the same side of Europa is always facing Jupiter.

As Europa follows its oval-shaped orbit, its distance from Jupiter changes, so the difference between the gravitational pull on Europa’s two sides regularly grows and shrinks. These changes are called tides.


These tides stretch and relax Europa, cracking its surface ice and building friction that heats the moon from the inside.

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A cutaway image of Europa shows how Jupiter pulls unevenly on the two sides of the moon, creating tides and bulging.
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NASA/JPL

That’s what keeps Europa’s subsurface ocean from freezing solid.


These tides could crack Europa’s mantle and give rise to deep-sea hydrothermal vents. On Earth, such vents produce intense heat that rips apart molecules and sparks chemical reactions.

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A hydrothermal vent or “black smoker chimney.”
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OAR/National Undersea Research Program (NURP); NOAA

Earth’s hydrothermal vents form where seawater seeps into the planet’s rocky crust, meets volcanically active rock, and blasts back toward the surface.


Life on Earth crops up around these vents. These ecosystems don’t need sunlight to survive.

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Fluid from a hydrothermal vent chimney appears like dark smoke due to the high levels of minerals and sulfides it contains. The chimney is crawling with shrimp and crabs.
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NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, 2016 Deepwater Exploration of the Marianas

On land, food chains rely on plants to convert sunlight to sugar. But in the deep-sea food chain, microbes convert hydrogen to sugar. Rather than photosynthesis (which is fueled by light), this process of “chemosynthesis” uses chemical reactions.


Nobody knows yet if Europa has deep-sea vents, much less alien life. NASA plans to investigate these questions with its Europa Clipper mission.

An artist's rendering of NASA's Europa Clipper spacecraft.

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An artist’s rendering of NASA’s Europa Clipper spacecraft.
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NASA/JPL-Caltech

The spacecraft is slated to fly close to the icy moon 45 times. NASA plans to launch it sometime in the 2020s.


The Clipper spacecraft is expected to fly through Europa’s water vapor plumes to analyze what might be in the ocean.

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An illustration of salty ocean water spraying from the icy crust of Jupiter’s moon Europa.
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NASA

Its radar tools will also measure the thickness of the ice and scan for subsurface water as the spacecraft gets as close as 16 miles to Europa’s surface.


That investigation could help scientists prepare to land a future spacecraft on Europa’s surface and punch through the ice.

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An artist’s rendering of a conceptual design for a potential future mission to land a robotic probe on Europa.
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NASA/JPL-Caltech

The future lander could search deep ice for signs of life in the ocean below, digging 4 inches below Europa’s surface to extract samples for analysis in a mini, on-the-go laboratory.

Bella Hadid revealed that she ‘never felt powerful’ walking the Victoria’s Secret runway shows

Bella Hadid revealed that she ‘never felt powerful’ walking the Victoria’s Secret runway shows

Bella Hadid walks Victoria's Secret's 2018 runway show in Shanghai.
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Bella Hadid walks Victoria’s Secret’s 2018 runway show in Shanghai.
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Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Bella Hadid took a subtle, possibly inadvertent dig at Victoria’s Secret while speaking at the Vogue Fashion Festival in Paris on Friday.

In an interview with film director Loïc Prigent and in front of an audience of hundreds of people, the 23-year-old model said that she had “never felt powerful” modeling lingerie on a runway show until she worked with Rihanna and modeled her Savage X Fenty collection at New York Fashion Week, WWD reported.

“Rihanna’s amazing. For me, that was the first time on a runway that I felt really sexy. Because when I first did Fenty, I was doing other lingerie shows and I never felt powerful on a runway, like, in my underwear,” she told Prigent, according to WWD.

Bella has previously walked three runway shows for Victoria’s Secret along with her sister Gigi. The duo first modeled in Rihanna’s show at New York Fashion Week in September 2018. They also walked in her show in 2019.

When Rihanna’s show debuted in 2018, the internet was lit up with excitement. The show featured models of all shapes, sizes, and ethnic backgrounds, including two pregnant women, one of whom reportedly went into labor after the show. While it had the raciness of a Victoria’s Secret runway show, fans applauded Rihanna for promoting body inclusivity and acceptance, something that Victoria’s Secret had been accused of lacking in the past.

This year, Rihanna partnered with Amazon to stream the show on Prime Video, enabling her to reach a wider audience and take greater aim at Victoria’s Secret’s large customer base in the US.

Meanwhile, Victoria’s Secret pulled back on its annual runway show this year (it is not clear whether it will run next year) after saying that it was “rethinking” the show. It had previously aired on network TV and drawn millions of viewers every year but in the past few years, its ratings had been on the decline and it was facing increasingly scrutiny from critics for failing to represent diversity and inclusivity.

Victoria’s Secret has made some significant steps to address the brand image and its sliding sales numbers in the past year, including hiring its first transgender model and trimming its workforce.

Sondland has been left isolated ahead of his impeachment testimony, and could even face jail time after holes emerge in his earlier evidence

Sondland has been left isolated ahead of his impeachment testimony, and could even face jail time after holes emerge in his earlier evidence

  • On Wednesday, EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland is to testify before the House impeachment inquiry.
  • He has before him a dilemma: whether to row back on testimony he gave earlier in the hearings which has now been ripped apart by other witnesses.
  • Sondland previously said he was not aware of a “quid pro quo” offer to Ukraine to reinstate military aid in exchange for a criminal probe of Joe Biden and his son.
  • Others have since testified that Sondland did indeed know about this, and loudly discussed it in public.
  • He later revised his testimony to say that he did remember discussing a quid pro quo with Ukrainian officials.
  • If he sticks with his account, and lawmakers believe he is not telling them the truth, they can pursue perjury charges that carry the potential of a prison sentence.
  • If lawmakers believe that Sondland has lied to them, they can refer him to the Department of Justice for criminal prosecution on perjury charges.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The witness whose testimony the White House is said to fear the most is scheduled to appear before the House impeachment inquiry on Wednesday.

Gordon Sondland, the multimillionaire hotel magnate and US ambassador to the EU, was one of small group of US officials who carved out the unofficial diplomatic backchannel with Ukraine which is the focus of the inquiry.

The group sought to broker a deal, offering to release frozen military aid and dangling a high profile White House trip to Ukraine’s newly elected president, Volodymyr Zelensky.

In exchange, they wanted a criminal investigation launched by Ukraine into Joe Biden, whose son Hunter had business dealings in the country.

Ahead of the testimony, Sondland faces a legal dilemma:

  • He could again revise the account he gave in his closed-door deposition in October 17 – which made no mention of Trump having a direct role in the scheme. This would likely attract the anger of the White House.
  • He could stick with his account, even though it has been contradicted by several other witnesses. If lawmakers go so far as to believe he is lying, they could pursue perjury charges and potentially see him jailed.

“If I was him, I would be very worried about a referral to the committee for a criminal charge and I would be trying to get on the right side of the committee to prevent that happening. The committee now has a lot of leverage over him to get him to tell the truth,” Matthew Miller, a former Justice Department chief spokesperson, told The Guardian.

In his initial testimony, Sondland distanced himself from attempts to broker a “quid pro quo” deal with Ukraine.

He said he had little contact with Trump, and didn’t know about the suspension of military aid, which it is claimed Trump officials offered to reinstate in exchange for the Biden probe.

David Holmes, a State Department official, arrives to appear in a closed-door deposition hearing as part of the impeachment inquiry at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on November 15, 2019.

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David Holmes, a State Department official, arrives to appear in a closed-door deposition hearing as part of the impeachment inquiry at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on November 15, 2019.
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OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images

He subsequently revised his testimony.

Sondland claimed to have since remembered that he told a close aide to Zelensky that the frozen US aid would not be released until Ukraine announced a probe into Burisma, the Ukrainian energy firm where Biden’s son, Hunter, served on the board.

The difference was dramatic, and his new account supports the “quid pro quo” accusation on which much of the argument for impeaching Trump hinges.

Since then, a series of witnesses have exposed holes in Sondland’s testimony, or outright contradicted it.

In explosive testimony David Holmes, a senior official in the US embassy in Kyiv, on Friday told the inquiry that in a Kyiv restaurant on July 26 he overheard Sondland in a noisy public phone call with Trump.

Sondland, Holmes said, told Trump that Ukraine’s president “loves your ass,” and was ready to launch the Biden probe. (No such probe was launched.)

During the live televised hearing, in front of millions of viewers worldwide, Democrats are almost certain to ask the ambassador why he did not mention the phonecall in either his initial or revised testimony.

He will also likely be grilled on other incidents omitted from earlier testimony, in which witnesses say he claimed to have been carrying out the president’s wishes in seeking the Biden probe deal.

This flatly contradicts his earlier statement to Congress, in which he claimed that he took part in “no discussions with any State Department or White House official about former Vice President Biden or his son.”

He also said he didn’t recall taking part in an effort to “encourage” such a probe.

Evidence so far points to Sondland being in a better position than any other witness to directly tie the president Trump to the “quid pro quo” deal Democrats are now describing as an act of bribery.

Speaking to The Washington Post, Republican Rep. Michael Conway of Texas, spelt out the legal jeopardy facing Sondland – portraying the real danger facing him as one in which he chose again to revise his account in light of other testimony.

“I expect Ambassador Sondland to tell us the same thing he said in his deposition,” Rep. Conway told the publication.

Asked what would happen if he does not, he said: “Well, there are legal ramifications for that, for changing your [testimony]. He’s got to have good reasons.”

New Creation Church buys The Star Vista for $300m to 'protect interest of church'

New Creation Church buys The Star Vista for $300m to 'protect interest of church'

SINGAPORE - Mega church New Creation has acquired The Star Vista mall for almost $300 million "to protect the interest of the church", it announced on Wednesday (Nov 20).

While the church previously owned only The Star Performing Arts Centre (PAC) - a space for the church's services that doubles as a concert venue - it now owns the entire building.

The purchase, costing the church $296 million, was secured on Oct 30 from CapitaLand, after the church got wind that CapitaLand was in talks with other buyers for a potential sale of the mall.

"While we had expressed our hope that CapitaLand would remain as the owner and operator of the retail space, we understood that CapitaLand had also initiated a sale process for The Star Vista," the church said on Wednesday.

Its council chairman, Deacon Yong Chee Ram, said the church did not want the unpredictability of the space going to another buyer, since the PAC also serves as a place of worship for New Creation on service days.

"Given that The Star Vista and The Star PAC are inextricably linked, our immediate objective... is both to protect the interest of the church and to preserve the good experience for all who come to The Star PAC," he said.

New Creation added that in accordance with zoning guidelines, The Star Vista's commercial space will be maintained, and that the church was exploring possibilities for CapitaLand to continue operating and managing the mall on its behalf.

In a separate statement, CapitaLand said the handover is expected to be completed by the end of the year, generating for the company net proceeds of about $145 million.

CapitaLand president Jason Leow said The Star Vista's sale is part of its "asset recycling strategy", giving the company greater financial flexibility to "seize new growth opportunities".

 
 
 

In the past year, CapitaLand has divested close to $5.7 billion worth of assets, exceeding its annual target divestment of $3 billion.

New Creation Church, through its business arm Rock Productions, bought The Star PAC for $500 million in 2007 in order to accommodate its then fast-expanding congregation.

It boasted 31,000 members in 2016, and made headlines when it raised $21.1 million in a day in 2010, largely through contributions by its members.

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