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When a spacecraft was launched to search for water and life on Mars on Aug. 12, some scientists also cast their eyes on the more remote Europa, one of Jupiter's moons, with the hope that the ice-covered satellite is more likely to harbour life than Mars - if indeed life exists somewhere else in our Solar System.

"So far as we known, the chances to find life beyond the Earth are very, very slim, while the chances might be a little more likely in Europa than Mars" - Simon Conway Morris, a noted Professor of evolutionary palaeobiology at Cambridge University.

On Mars if there was life, it would most probably be extinct and you would need palaeontologists to go to the Mars and study possible biological structures and sediments.
It takes longer to get to Europa than to get to Mars since Europa is located in the outer solar system.

"Europa is extremely cold and hostile for life and people still have no idea about its sub-surface geology. It would be surprising to find life on the planet, but many surprising things have come true " - Robert Gaines, a palaeontologist with Pomona College in the United States.

Europa is roughly the size of the Earth's moon and covered with a thick crust of ice.
Scientists speculate life forms may exist under the crust of ice, living in the oceans below.
An experiment by Stanley Miller in 1953 indicated that with water, certain gas and heat, the substances essential for life could be formed in certain reaction.
Based on the experiment, scientists believed life might exist on Europa since the satellite contains water and the heat caused by the tidal tug of war with Jupiter and other neighbouring moons.
Plans to land on the moon are being discussed in Europe and the United States.

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