NASA will announce something surprising about Europa on Monday


NASA to Hold Media Call on Evidence of Surprising Activity on Europa

Jupiter's moon Europa, as seen by NASA's Galileo spacecraft. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SETI Institute
Jupiter’s moon Europa, as seen by NASA’s Galileo spacecraft. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SETI Institute

NASA will host a teleconference at 2 p.m. EDT Monday, Sept. 26, to present new findings from images captured by the agency’s Hubble Space Telescope of Jupiter’s icy moon, Europa.

Astronomers will present results from a unique Europa observing campaign that resulted in surprising evidence of activity that may be related to the presence of a subsurface ocean on Europa. Participants in the teleconference will be:

  • Paul Hertz, director of the Astrophysics Division at NASA Headquarters in Washington
  • William Sparks, astronomer with the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore
  • Britney Schmidt, assistant professor at the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta
  • Jennifer Wiseman, senior Hubble project scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland

To participate by phone, media must contact Dwayne Brown at 202-358-1726 or and provide their media affiliation no later than noon Monday.

Audio of the teleconference will stream live on NASA’s website at:

For information about NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, visit:


“Astronomers will present results from a unique Europa observing campaign that resulted in surprising evidence of activity that may be related to the presence of a subsurface ocean on Europa,”

That gives a wide latitude, it could mean anything from discovering plate tectonics like we have on Earth, to discovering what looks like algal type blooms that discolor sections of the frozen ocean based on seasonal changes.

Astrobiologists have long regarded Europa as one of the solar system’s best bets to host alien life. So did Arthur C. Clarke in his followup story to 2001, A space Odyssey with 2010: Odyssey Twowhich is where that famous “attempt no landing there” phrase comes from. Europa is a 1,900-mile-wide (3,100 kilometers) moon of Jupiter that apparently holds a huge ocean of liquid water beneath its icy shell; furthermore, astronomers think this ocean is in contact with Europa’s rocky mantle, making possible all sorts of interesting chemical reactions that could create life, much like what we witness near deep sea hydrothermal vents in Earth’s oceans.

What is most interesting is that the scientists that run the JUNO probe don’t want to let it crash land there like has been done on so many other moons and planets. They don’t want to risk it contaminating the moon.

NASA did say this in response to some outlandish speculation:

We’ll be watching with great interest.

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
September 21, 2016 3:59 pm

..Whats wrong with just a good old fashioned Press Conference ? And why wait till Monday ?

Reply to  Marcus
September 21, 2016 10:54 pm

build suspense. … drum-roll ….. TADA !!
Probably going to be flop rather than big news.

Reply to  Greg
September 21, 2016 10:57 pm

BTW, I don’t know what this was supposed to mean:
There is a very good reason for not touching Europa if we suspect there maybe some form of life there since it would pretty much nullify any findings if we contaminate it first. Like the lake under Vostck in Antarctica.

Smokey (Can't do a thing about wildfires)
Reply to  Greg
September 22, 2016 1:27 am

: This was a cultural reference you seem to have missed.
Stanley Kubrick’s 1968 version of “2001: A Space Odyssey” became famous with its image of monkeys dancing in front of an alien monolith while “Also Sprach Zarathustra” fills any mental voids with tympanic reverberation. However the “ATTEMPT NO LANDING” quotation comes from the sequel, “2010: Odyssey Two,” where a follow-up expedition heads out to the Jovian system to figure out what happened to Dave & the HAL9000 those many years before.
Of the two films, I find “2010” to be nearly as pretty & far easier to watch than “2001,” even given its dated nature (filmed in the late 1980s to depict an era 25 years later). Also, one doesn’t NEED to see the first to enjoy the second, as it stands alone fairly well. I understand this is probably heresy, and accept that all the Internet’s pitchforks & torches, tar & feathers will shortly be following their optimal ballistic intercept trajectories with my own current vector…. now-ish. ^_^

Tom in Denver
Reply to  Greg
September 22, 2016 8:49 am

I evoke my inner Arthur C Clark and predict NASA is going to announce “Something Wonderful”
Perhaps they’ve found a monolith on Europa

John Silver
Reply to  Greg
September 22, 2016 11:45 am

“We’ll be watching with great interest.”
No we won’t. They’re just making shit up as they go.

Reply to  Greg
September 22, 2016 11:51 am

Apes, not monkeys with the monolith.

Reply to  Greg
September 22, 2016 1:36 pm

(Gabro said we’re fish, dinos are birds, but; apes not monkeys ; )

Reply to  Marcus
September 21, 2016 11:40 pm

My immediate thought too. If they’ve got something why not just announce it.

george e. smith
Reply to  Mike Jonas
September 22, 2016 9:12 am

Stanley Kubrick can burn in Hades as far as I am concerned for destroying forever, that marvelous Tone Poem by Richard Strauss.
Just as Walt Dismal, and Leopold Stokowski murdered Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony, as well as J.S. Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D-Minor, in Fantasia. Well that movie was a disaster for all of the pieces of music it featured.

Reply to  Marcus
September 22, 2016 6:59 am

Have to justify the budget somehow.

george e. smith
Reply to  Marcus
September 22, 2016 8:46 am

Fri. Sept 23rd 2016
What surprising news ??
I read all about that yesterday on WUWT.
Europa Seas are so yesterday !
I read a

george e. smith
Reply to  george e. smith
September 22, 2016 9:03 am

More seriously;
If my memory serves me correctly, a pseudo weirdo guy by the name of Richard C. Hoagland; or close to that, proposed YEARS ago, that Europa might have liquid ocean underneath its ice, and that NASA should consider sending probes there.
As far as I know, NASA has never acknowledged the origin of that idea.
Hoagland used to be a regular on the Art Bell late night radio program, which eventually morphed into the George Noori program.
Hoagland was always talking about some total BS stuff he called “Hyper Dimensional Physics” and what problems he has solved using that; but so far as I know he never ever published any papers on any examples of his HDP calculations of anything.
He also had some fetish about 19.something degrees, as in a Latitude of something somewhere; or more often about everything that popped up at 19.something latitude.
And I believe that there is a published paper from him on his Europa liquid oceans postulate, that dates back to when he first proposed the idea.
I always thought he was a kook, somewhat in the Mucho Kookoa vein; but then there was his Europa liquid Oceans suggestion offsetting that.

Reply to  george e. smith
September 22, 2016 5:37 pm

@ george, re Hoagland: Just because an idea originates with a crackpot doesn’t necessarily mean the idea itself is crackpotty.
Copernicus was a crackpot (obsessed with restoring the “perfection” of circular movement to Heaven, the physics be damned) who just happened to be right . . . or, well, to have a more workable model.

george e. smith
Reply to  george e. smith
September 23, 2016 10:41 am

george e. smith
September 22, 2016 at 9:03 am
More seriously; …..”””””
So where did I say it was a crackpot idea ??
I was noting simply that Hoagland should be credited with having first proposed this idea, and being roundly ignored.
Yes I think he is nutty; but he wrote a serious paper describing his theory, and they just thumbed their noses at him.
I don’t; and I still think he is nutty.

Reply to  Marcus
September 22, 2016 3:39 pm

Since one of NASA’s primary missions now is “Muslim outreach”, maybe they’re still translating the texts? Not easy, must be sensitive to Muslim sensibilities, and politically correct, you know.

Dems B. Dcvrs
September 21, 2016 4:00 pm

NASA: We found those missing and deleted Emails…

Barbara Skolaut
Reply to  Dems B. Dcvrs
September 21, 2016 4:10 pm

+1000 😀

Reply to  Dems B. Dcvrs
September 21, 2016 11:10 pm

The water vapor fountains are old wood, now. NASA have to come up with something really SURPRISING now. My bet is one of three possibilities:
1) Organic compounds in the vapor jets, for example CO2, CH4, C2H6, and PAH
2) Non-organic compounds, like for example: NH, NaCl, etc
3) Metallic compounds, like Cu, Zn, Fe, etc
Why? Yes, because there is also heat inside this globe, induced by tidal forces, and that means hydrothermal activity, where these compounds are produced – also on Earth, Titan, etc.
Lets get the popcorn out for the big event….

Mark - Helsinki
Reply to  Nimrod
September 22, 2016 12:54 am

The last time NASA did this it was a massive disappointment

Reply to  Nimrod
September 26, 2016 12:51 pm

September 21, 2016 at 11:10 pm
The water vapor fountains are old wood, now. NASA have to come up with something really SURPRISING now. My bet is one of three possibilities:

The something wonderful news were just that, water vapor fountains.

Reply to  Dems B. Dcvrs
September 22, 2016 1:23 pm

They found the missing heat in the oceans… of Europa.

Lucius von Steinkaninchen
September 21, 2016 4:00 pm

That’s interesting and all, but this being Watts up With That I automatically thought about headlines next week being something like “Global Warming is Melting Europa’s Icy Crust”. =)

Reply to  Lucius von Steinkaninchen
September 21, 2016 4:36 pm

If they report evidence of melting on Hillary’s icy crust, now THAT would be news!

Reply to  Menicholas
September 22, 2016 12:27 am

It’s ice all the way down with that one.

Owen in GA
Reply to  Lucius von Steinkaninchen
September 21, 2016 4:46 pm

That would actually be an interesting result for skeptics. If similar warming is observed on Europa as was seen on Mars and Earth than there is no way man is causing the majority of the warming. Case closed at that point. (note that we still may be contributing some amount – the data will not be good enough to show long term trends mirroring ours so can not be used to eliminate possible human contribution.)

Reply to  Owen in GA
September 22, 2016 12:59 am

Mars is not warming. The sun is in a cool phase… Really I thought the ‘it’s warming on other planets meme was dead?

Owen in GA
Reply to  Owen in GA
September 22, 2016 5:18 am

I would think that “skeptical science” as a credible source is a real damage to me reading anything you have to type in the future. They have been shown to be pure propaganda.

Reply to  Owen in GA
September 22, 2016 7:09 am

The earth isn’t warming either, at least not in the last 20 years.

Reply to  Owen in GA
September 22, 2016 7:09 am

Owen, to a true believer like Griff, propaganda is determined by whether or not it advances the cause.

mark - Helsinki
Reply to  Owen in GA
September 22, 2016 2:53 pm

when ppl link to sks I get up from my PC and wash my hands and face

Reply to  Lucius von Steinkaninchen
September 22, 2016 12:05 am

IIRR, the outer planets have already shown global warming similar to the earth. NASA and the usual suspects had to do quite a tap dance to explain how that could happen without CO2 emissions.

Reply to  Lucius von Steinkaninchen
September 22, 2016 6:28 am

Good name Stone Rabbit

September 21, 2016 4:03 pm

In view of our political and social situation here in the US….BEAM ME UP!

September 21, 2016 4:10 pm

NASA actually doing space research? I thought they were now doing global warming and Muslim outreach!/sarc

Jim G1
September 21, 2016 4:10 pm

Big jump from algae to life is easy just as it’s a big jump to think it’s independent from Earth. Who’s to say some big rock blown off of the Earth did not already contaminate Europa?

Jim G1
Reply to  Jim G1
September 21, 2016 4:15 pm

Btw, how deep would that deadly radiation penetrate the ice and possible water on Europa? If I recall, water is a big time stopper of various types of radiation.

Reply to  Jim G1
September 21, 2016 4:32 pm

A half value layer for water is about 8 inches… Could be less or could be more depending on the type of radiation and energy, there are several factors involved but, 8 inches is a good rule of thumb. It takes about 5 half value layers to stop 99%+ of radiation. So, you would need about 40 inches of water… Give or take a little bit.

Reply to  Jim G1
September 21, 2016 5:33 pm

And Ice?

Reply to  Jim G1
September 21, 2016 5:52 pm

About 8 inches for the half value layer, maybe slightly more.

Smokey (Can't do a thing about wildfires)
Reply to  Jim G1
September 22, 2016 1:39 am

Ice doesn’t work quite as well as a radiation shield, but liquid water is exceptional; even with NO surface ice on Europa, the hard radiation of space AND the radiation of the massive Jovian magnetic fields would be damped to Earth sea-level norms within just a few meters of the surface, as SMC previously indicated.
This is why on-site nuclear reactor waste is stored in containment pools: (with permission from all the guys with guns guarding the place, of course!) you would likely get a lower dose of radiation swimming in the upper layers of such a pool than you do just walking outside.

Reply to  Jim G1
September 22, 2016 1:54 am

Research reactors are often Pool Type, the guts just sit on the bottom of a swimming pool like tub… and you can look down through the water when they are operating… Containment? We don’t need no steenking containment! !! Or shielding beyond the water.

george e. smith
Reply to  Jim G1
September 22, 2016 9:17 am

What deadly radiation ??

Smokey (Can't do a thing about wildfires)
Reply to  george e. smith
September 22, 2016 9:25 am

e. smith, who said: “What deadly radiation ??”
George, just as Earth has an active magnetic field, and thus belts of charged particles (the Van Allen belts), Jupiter has a much larger, more powerful magnetic field, one which would appear almost five times the size of the full moon in our sky (assuming we could see it, of course). Anyone standing/landing/living on the surface of any of the Galilean moons will have to shield against this somehow if they wish not to cook like a fried egg, and quickly! This is why we were mentioning the shielding capability of Europa’s (possible) ocean.

Reply to  Jim G1
September 22, 2016 1:30 pm

What deadly radiation ??

Deadly Orgone Radiation
[As opposed to the Deadly Orange Refrigerators of the late 1960’s? …mod]

Reply to  Jim G1
September 21, 2016 5:14 pm

As eukaryotes, algae, such as seaweed, are actually a quite complicated form of life, the ancestors of plants.
Hubble has been studying Europa for quite some time.
The Red Streaks are probably salts from the liquid ocean beneath the icy crust, not algae, however, as some have speculated:

Reply to  Gabro
September 21, 2016 5:32 pm

Hubble detected what appeared to be water vapor jets shooting from Europa in 2013:

Reply to  Gabro
September 21, 2016 5:34 pm

Water vapor had previously been observed erupting from Saturn’s icy moon Enceladus.

Horace Jason Oxboggle
Reply to  Gabro
September 22, 2016 3:32 pm

What? The red streaks aren’t SUV tracks?

September 21, 2016 4:12 pm

Spoiler alert: NOT aliens:
In related news, Donald Trump expressed relief that there were no aliens discovered on Europa. Something about no having to build another wall…

Reply to  davidmhoffer
September 21, 2016 4:16 pm

In other other news, Hillary expressed dismay at the news there were no Aliens on Europa. “There’s hundreds of thousands of refugees who have fled to Europe,” she said. “What suddenly happened to them? I have a very stern message that I have left for Ms Merkel and other leaders, this just isn’t acceptable.”

Reply to  davidmhoffer
September 22, 2016 2:01 am

If they really could get to Europa then both the European Space Agency and NASA would be falling over themselves to offer them jobs!

Reply to  davidmhoffer
September 21, 2016 4:24 pm

Not aliens you say, David?
That Fed-ex delivery person is going to be really PO’d when they get to Europa to deliver that t-shirt!

September 21, 2016 4:14 pm

What? They spotted an alien with a “Deplorable” t-shirt?
I suppose that would be page-4 newsworthy.

Mickey Reno
Reply to  H.R.
September 21, 2016 4:33 pm

Take us to your leader. …. What? A short-timer, a blowhard and a dying grandmother? You don’t say. …. Okay, how about this Rasputin guy, he controls a big chunk, right? …. Oh, he bombed a humanitarian convoy, and he’ll embarrass us, you say? …. Okay, how about this Britain country? …. NO? …. Okay, what’s this European Union thing? …. Oh, that’s disappointing. …. Okay, new plan, take us to these Dave and Buster guys.

September 21, 2016 4:17 pm

Pop Science is Tabloid Science.
Click-bait. Professional Wrestling Science. InfoAintTainment.
Hyped and boring TV.
I hate it.

September 21, 2016 4:19 pm

Nice way to build up hype, speculation and anticipation. Hopefully the announcement lives up to, or at least is somewhere in the ballpark, people’s expectations.

Robert W Turner
September 21, 2016 4:32 pm

Polar bear activity, responsible for resupplying the polar bear population on Earth, but now their polar bear supply is running out and it’s worse than we thought.

Paul Westhaver
September 21, 2016 4:40 pm

Nothing NASA could say would surprise me.
Nothing there …. all the way to humanity came from there….to we’ve already been there…. to super advanced super beings vacation there.
Nothing will surprise me.
What might surprise me is if NASA DOESN’T ask for more money to mount an expedition to go there.
no bucks, no buck rogers…

Reply to  Paul Westhaver
September 21, 2016 5:04 pm

So, if bucks are required for Buck Rogers, what do I need for Ming the Merciless?

Reply to  SMC
September 21, 2016 5:15 pm

I am reminded of Dr. Svalgaard’s award from NASA for “mesmerizing the public”.

Reply to  Paul Westhaver
September 21, 2016 7:26 pm

NASA is going ahead with planning for a mission to Europa in the next decade, with the ESA getting in on funding action as well.
Hubble observations help keep up the drum beat for bucks and Euros:

Reply to  Paul Westhaver
September 22, 2016 12:33 am

“. . . nothing NASA could say would surprise me . . . ”
Actually, nothing NASA could say would make me believe it prima facia. Except, perhaps, it’s another lie. But, scientific minds terrible things to waste. They help move the planet’s thoughts forward . . . going where no minds have ever gone. (The moon comes to mind, so to speak.) Discovering things like The New Planet of late. Possibly with water. Like their Mars meteorite rocks that “. . . indicated traces of water.” Like their moon rock samples they sent to—Sweden, was it?—that turned out to be petrified wood. Who knew? But The New Planet is different. They haven’t laid eyes on it yet but, it’s there. Behind another planet. They know. From the planet’s mathematical wobbles that are probably caused by the sloshing of its oceans that are caused by the planet’s wobb . . .

September 21, 2016 4:43 pm
September 21, 2016 4:59 pm

The Monolith!!

High Treason
September 21, 2016 5:33 pm

Perhaps the announcement will be that they have observed “climate change” on Europa. It will be speculated that the Europans have been burning too much methane, causing climate change. Their own version of subversive control by deception, the Europan Union will be asked to curb emissions and forgo personal freedoms to combat “climate change” on Europa.

Alan Robertson
September 21, 2016 5:38 pm

Dang. Was looking for something really really profound. Water under ice? Oh well.
It is still interesting that we’ve developed technology to detect such a thing. If that’s all it is.
Yeti’s home world would have been more fun. With maybe, a Corey Feldman fan club.

September 21, 2016 5:42 pm

Europa is electrical like Rosetta… There are surface discharges that excavate material.

Reply to  brantc
September 21, 2016 5:58 pm

I am sure I will see the resemblance when I get stoned. Till then it is still Greek to me.

Reply to  brantc
September 22, 2016 4:01 am

brantc, whoever photo-shopped those building-shadows on the Europa pic would’ve be more convincing if they had softened the edges just a little bit….

Reply to  brantc
September 22, 2016 4:04 am

OK, looking more closely, maybe those “building shadows” are just artifacts of the processing or data-stream.

September 21, 2016 5:48 pm

OK, wild speculation time. What can Hubble discern about Europa that could betray the behaviour of the supposed ocean? The only thing I can think of is anomalous nutation about its synchronous rotational period i.e. anomalous drag and acceleration from the ocean slopping. I haven’t a clue whether Hubble can see Europa clearly enough to discern this.

Reply to  scute1133
September 21, 2016 7:00 pm

Water plumes spouting through the ice, like geysers. But this has already been observed and reported.

Reply to  Gabro
September 21, 2016 10:18 pm

If there have been water spouts then crashing the probe into it should be fine & who knows, we may be letting The Great A’Tuins child free from it’s tough eggshell 😉

Reply to  scute1133
September 21, 2016 7:02 pm

Just worked out that the surface rotates about 0.6 m/sec faster at periapsis than at apoapsis so, not much difference. Being only a few percent of the mass, the slosh n drag would add just a few seconds and maybe a km or so of delay on equatorial rotation (informed guess based on absolute upper limit).

September 21, 2016 5:54 pm

You know the punters love all this alien life stuff. Should put another zero on the end of that check. (And remember, no bloody emails saying we can’t find alien life and it’s a travesty we can’t!)

September 21, 2016 6:03 pm

Totally tongue-in-cheek, I’ll bet it’s worse than we thought.

Reply to  u.k(us)
September 21, 2016 6:34 pm

Repent for the end is nigh, NASA is going announce!! 😄

Reply to  u.k(us)
September 21, 2016 8:02 pm

Like Brexit.
Perhaps Europa is responding to the Leave campaign, or simply warming.

richard verney
September 21, 2016 6:25 pm

They have built up too much expectation.
When the news is released, it is bound to be anti climax, just as their last staged press conference was.

September 21, 2016 6:53 pm

If NASA really had astounding info, they would not tease the world about it.
It would leak!
Can anyone NOT imagine staffer selling info on “discovery of alien life” to “the media” for 10 million bucks?

Reply to  Noam Sayen
September 21, 2016 7:32 pm

For some unknown reason your post has inspired me. NASA has discovered Sea Monkeys on Europa. They look exactly like they do in the advertisements in the comic books.
One sad excuse for a NASA staffer tried to get money by leaking the information to the media but they laughed her out of the office.

Reply to  commieBob
September 21, 2016 7:36 pm

Those Sea Monkeys remind me of Elaine Morgan’s aquatic ape-humans.

Reply to  commieBob
September 21, 2016 10:38 pm

Are you sure they aren’t mermaids?

Reply to  commieBob
September 22, 2016 12:46 am

They’re real, I tell ya. We caught one making the turn ’round South America for Australia. Keel-hauled him but the sucker wouldn”t talk. Finally tossed him overboard.

September 21, 2016 7:29 pm

I just hope the news from NASA is a bit more exciting than Geraldo Rivera’s two-hour special when he opened Al Capone’s empty vault.

September 21, 2016 7:48 pm

So the idea might be that it actually “snowballed” (unlike earth), including gasses that do not freeze on earth; and its “crust” might be something akin to a frozen atmosphere. The Siliceous material we think of as rock would be the “mantle”, isolated and insulated and capable of imponderable outbursts…
Cool stuff.

Reply to  gymnosperm
September 21, 2016 7:51 pm

Europa actually does have a tenuous to wispy atmosphere of oxygen, produced radio-chemically rather than biologically, as on earth.

Reply to  Gabro
September 21, 2016 8:03 pm

O2, I presume. How do you produce this radio-chemically?

Reply to  Gabro
September 21, 2016 8:52 pm

: Hard radiation fractures water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen, hydrogen escapes, and Bob’s your uncle.

Reply to  Gabro
September 21, 2016 9:44 pm


Reply to  gymnosperm
September 21, 2016 7:52 pm

And its apparent internal ocean, once thought too acidic for life, has recently been shown experimentally to be hospitable. The announcement might have something to do with observations supporting that result.

Reply to  Gabro
September 21, 2016 7:59 pm

Basically like the lakes beneath the ice on Antarctica. No idea the pH of those lakes, but don’t they have fish?

Reply to  Gabro
September 21, 2016 9:45 pm

Yup. Subglacial fish.
But of course on earth the fish didn’t need to evolve under ice.
Just shows that animals, ie motile, O2-burning heterotrophs, can exist in such an environment.

Reply to  Gabro
September 22, 2016 2:04 am

Gee we could send some of those fish to Europa and make the solar system’s biggest fishbowl!

Reply to  Gabro
September 26, 2016 3:20 pm

September 22, 2016 at 2:04 am
Please don’t give NASA ideas.

September 21, 2016 7:54 pm

Official leak: NASA reveals Europa is ONE GIANT ORGANISM. All those veins on the surface…

george e. smith
Reply to  Ronald P Ginzler
September 22, 2016 9:26 am

Gairopa !!

September 21, 2016 8:23 pm

Thanks Anthony, the Jupiter System is pretty cool, with its moons and all.. a subsystem within the Solar system.
Ran across an article today on how we are now better able to pin point where solar storms will produce/affect ground currents on Earth.
There is also a link to the technical document, with open access. (new and no paywall, thanks)
U.S. Sharpens Surveillance of Crippling Solar Storms
Next-generation space weather model will map the danger facing power grids
By Alexandra Witze, Nature magazine on September 20, 2016
…As early as the end of this month, NOAA should have a much better idea of just how dangerous those electromagnetic storms are. The agency will begin releasing forecasts that use a more sophisticated model to predict how incoming solar storms could fry electrical power grids. It will be the clearest guide yet as to which utility operators, in what parts of the world, need to worry.
“This is the first time we will get short-term forecasts of what the changes at the surface of the Earth will be,” says Bob Rutledge, lead forecaster at NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center in Boulder, Colorado. “We can tell a power-grid customer not only that it will be a bad day, but give them some heads-up on what exactly they will be facing.”…
…Until now, NOAA had warned of solar activity using the planetary K-index, a scale that ranks the current geomagnetic threat to the entire Earth. The new ‘geospace’ forecast, which draws on more than two decades of research, comes in the form of a map showing which areas are likely to be hit hardest….
In their latest paper, Love, Pulkkinen and their colleagues describe the most detailed map of these ‘geoelectric hazards’ across part of the United States (J. J. Love et al. Geophys. Res. Lett.; 2016). Of the areas surveyed so far, those at the highest risk are the upper Midwestern states of Minnesota and Wisconsin, where complex geology induces strong electrical currents.
Adding in 3D models of these ground currents will improve the next generation of NOAA forecasts, Rutledge says. “This is by no means the end.”

Geoelectric hazard maps for the continental United States
Jeffrey J. Love, Antti Pulkkinen, Paul A. Bedrosian,
Seth Jonas, Anna Kelbert, E. Joshua Rigler, Carol A. Finn,
Christopher C. Balch, Robert Rutledge,
Richard M. Waggel, Andrew T. Sabata, Janet U. Kozyra, Carrie E. Black
First published: 19 September 2016

Myron Mesecke
September 21, 2016 8:25 pm

NASA will announce that they have located the Pirate Twins.
Europa and the Pirate Twins. Song by Thomas Dolby.

September 21, 2016 11:48 pm

Does our moon spin or not?
Given we’re talking about moons I’d like to raise an issue with this free-thinking illustrious group that has really puzzled me. I always understood that our moon does not spin on its polar axis. I can understand clearly, within the context of the 6 degrees of freedom it has in 3 dimensional space how it can orbit earth and still only show one face to our planet. In fact, my understanding if is spun on its axis at any speed whatsoever that it could not show only one side to the earth permanently. Much to my surprise I see that Nasa have on their website the following:
Misconception: The Moon does not rotate.
Reality: The Moon does spin on its axis, completing a rotation once every 27.3 days; the confusion is caused because it also takes the same period to orbit the Earth, so that it keeps the same side facing us.

and plenty of other places on the web saying likewise. However, I call in defence of my position that it does not spin no less than Nikolai Tesla who produced the paper below showing/’proving’ that the moon does not have angular momentum about its polar axis.
What gives here? How come Nasa are saying it is spinning? Is this just a frame of reference issue? I find it very intriguing and wonder have I mis-understood the issue entirely as, if I’m (and Tesla!) are correct, then Nasa have made an egregious error here.
Can anyone enlighten me?

Johann Wundersamer
Reply to  Hoplite
September 22, 2016 1:48 am

Think of a car in a curve. The vehicle doesn’t rotate in relation to it’s respectively movement, in relation to the driven route upon the street.
Although it rounds the center of the curve.

Johann Wundersamer
Reply to  Johann Wundersamer
September 22, 2016 4:18 am

Of course you’re right, hoplit the motion of the moon is simply straight forward :
steal the earth from the center of the trajectory and the moon moves straight forward, spin around the moons axis long gone.

Johann Wundersamer
Reply to  Hoplite
September 22, 2016 2:06 am

So after the curve that car plain rolls on; and freed from the trajectory around earth, by an outer force, the moon would move straight along, no spin around its axis.

Reply to  Johann Wundersamer
September 22, 2016 3:26 am

Johann, I’m a bit puzzled by what you’re saying as this last point you made substantiates what I am saying. The law of conservation of momentum doesn’t allow the spin momentum to just disappear. The circular motion momentum is preserved in your example in the car continuing along in a straight line. If, as you say ‘no spin around its axis’ after it moves straight along that can only mean it never had spin in the first place. I’m not certain but I think people are confusing circular (but linear) motion with rotational motion.

george e. smith
Reply to  Johann Wundersamer
September 22, 2016 9:40 am

So now let us drive your car around your curve, but we do it on the local ice yachting lake; smooth ice, without spiked tires. Yes it’s a Subaru so it has all wheel drive.
Will the car rotate now ?? or just sit still in one place ??

Reply to  Hoplite
September 22, 2016 2:10 am

NASA is right. The fact that you always see the same face and can see it doing phases demonstrates that it rotates relative to the sun, but at a rate matching the earth orbiting speed.

Reply to  E.M.Smith
September 22, 2016 3:16 am

EM Smith & Johann – think of the 6 degrees of freedom the moon has: 3 linear (heave, surge, sway) and 3 rotational (roll, pitch, yaw). I contend that the movement of the moon is purely the former three and with no movement in the later three. In order for an object to have movement in the latter three degrees it means it must be moving about an axis that goes through the body itself (centred if symmetrical rotation or off-centred if it’s an irregular spin). If the object is moving about an axis outside of the body only then the object has only linear motion (yes, it is circular but linear motion doesn’t have to be straight lines!).
The moon has no angular momentum (i.e. it doesn’t spin about any axis internal to its boundary – symmetrical or otherwise). On the other hand the earth has linear motion (orbiting the sun) AND rotational motion (spinning on its polar axis).
The fact that the moon shows all sides of itself to an observer standing on the surface of the sun does not mean that the moon has rotational motion itself but that it has linear motion around a fixed distance from an external axis and the observer is located outside of the circular (but linear motion) path that it is on.
Consider the tennis game that was popular 30 years’ ago where a tennis ball was on a 1.5 metre string and it went around a 2 metre pole stuck in the ground. To an observer at the pole the tennis ball always shows the same face (it has to as the string won’t let it spin on its ‘polar’ axis) but to an observer outside the path of the tennis ball (i.e the players of the game) it was showing all sides of the tennis ball as it travels around the pole. There’s no rotational motion (possibly is on the axis described by the line of the string but not on the axis perpendicular to it.
I note that NASA are saying the spin of the moon and orbit are coincidentally in lock step so we see only one side of it. There’s nothing coincidental here – the moon isn’t spinning on its polar axis at all.

Reply to  Hoplite
September 22, 2016 3:41 am

Another way to think of linear and rotational movement is as follows:
1. Linear straight line motion: all atoms in the fixed body are moving in the same direction and at the same velocity
2. Linear curved motion: all atoms in the fixed body are moving in the same direction but at different velocities (this is why we have to have differential gearing in cars as inside and outside wheels move at different velocities around corners)
3. Rotational motion: atoms in the fixed body travelling in different directions and at different velocities.
A fully free fixed body has the following total of 6 combinations of possible movements: 0, 1, 2, 3, 1 & 3 or 2 & 3. 1&2 are contradictory and 1&2&3 are, therefore, also contradictory.

Reply to  Hoplite
September 22, 2016 3:50 am

Should have ended with earth moves in 2&3 but moon in 2 only.

george e. smith
Reply to  Hoplite
September 22, 2016 10:12 am

So let us take a spherical solid body sitting stationary in free space. No motion of any kind relative to the co-ordinate frame.
It is not translating, and it is not rotating.
If I then move it in a straight line in the X direction, it is now translating, but it is not rotating.
If I move it in a straight line in the Y direction, it is translating but it is not rotating.
If I move it in a straight line in any direction with a X component, and Y component, it is still translating and still not rotating.
This is true, no matter how far I move it, and for any Vy / Vx ratio.
So if I continue to move it in a sequence of interleaved x and y steps, it continues to move and it continues to not rotate.
What if I move it in four steps of equal x and y but alternating in sign +x, +y, -x, -y ……
Now it moves around a square path, but it does not rotate.
That square of side 2a has the equation x^infinity + y^infinity = a^infinity
Well I don’t like that, so I’ll make it x^n + y^n = a^n where n has any positive value from down to but not including zero, and up to but not including infinity.
So starting with the Square path case, with translation but no rotation, I now reduce the value of n.
It will be found that the sides are now no longer straight lines, every point on that pseudo-square path has a finite non zero curvature.
The body continues to translate, but it never starts to rotate.
At any time, at any point in the path, I can stop the movement completely. The angular momentum of the object never changes.
Eventually, I will end up with n = 2.0 ……
So just when did the object start spinning.
Any forces applied to the body to get it to move (if such is needed) are applied exactly at the center of this completely symmetrical spherical object, so no torque is ever applied.
Tesla was at least as bright as Elon Musk; but only just.

Johann Wundersamer
Reply to  Hoplite
September 22, 2016 4:51 am

Same as the drivers side in a left turn always points to the center of the curve.

Tom in Florida
Reply to  Johann Wundersamer
September 22, 2016 11:26 am

Unless you are in Florida where drivers always do the opposite.

Johann Wundersamer
Reply to  Johann Wundersamer
September 22, 2016 6:25 pm

Seeing later alligators.

September 21, 2016 11:49 pm

If NASA’s pattern holds, the Big Announcement will be a pretty mundane observation followed by extensive fundraising.
I *hope* it will be something actually interesting, but it would be uncharacteristic.
Though it is now controversial, we have already gone through the “bacterial life outside of Earth” announcement, so that will be less exciting than some people think it would be.
Waiting until Monday is just using the news cycle.

Dodgy Geezer
September 22, 2016 12:10 am

@Ronald P Ginzler
Official leak: NASA reveals Europa is ONE GIANT ORGANISM. All those veins on the surface…

Ah… so Professor Challenger was right…?

Reply to  Dodgy Geezer
September 22, 2016 9:24 am

am watching that movie right now 🙂

John Gorter
September 22, 2016 12:31 am

Maybe Europa is at war with Titan? The strange cloud recently reported on Titan may be the result of an attack – those water vapor fountains may be the equivalent of ‘chem trails’ from departing missiles! /sarc

September 22, 2016 12:31 am

I guess I don’t “get it” as to why they don’t land…they have no problem “contaminating” everything else…. For all they knew, there was life on Mars – but they didn’t let that stop them. Just sayin….

John in Oz
September 22, 2016 12:34 am

Maybe they will announce that they have found the missing heat that was supposedly going into our oceans but was not seen by the ARGO bouys.
CO2 has many mysterious powers such that anything is possible

Charles Nelson
September 22, 2016 1:52 am

It seems pretty clear that there’s intelligent life on Europa, we can see quite clearly that they have a sophisticated network of canals!

September 22, 2016 2:59 am

Will this announcement be before or after the 1st presidential debate? If there are worms on Europa, will Hillary, or Trump say “I told you so”?

Johann Wundersamer
September 22, 2016 4:32 am

steal the earth <- if I should have typed 'steel'.

Tom in Florida
September 22, 2016 4:47 am

I’m surprised that Geraldo is not doing a one hour lead in special for this announcement.

September 22, 2016 6:00 am

Anything short of discovering a black rectangular monolith on thetonynas surface of Europa will be dissapointing

September 22, 2016 6:08 am

They are probably just going to announce that they need lots of money to study something that they just made up.
I hate being cynical…. but these are cynical times.

September 22, 2016 6:48 am

Dear Europan Neighbor,
Starting Monday September 26th [Earth calendar] technicians will be in your area to demonstrate and and introduce lucky customers our new exciting new line of services, which include 50 premium TV channels, telephone with unlimited free continental long distance, Internet with speeds of up to 0.0001Mbps (pings less than 1.5 hours!) and bonded central alarm security monitoring. If you are willing to let us place a sign your front law you get a cash back bonus! Early signers get no payments for one solar rotation, chances are limited! So don’t stay under the ice… make contact with us today!

September 22, 2016 8:09 am

Reminds me of the Clinton regime when NASA announced finding “evidence” of life on Mars. Turned out, after the election, to be just oxide deposit like titanomagnitite. Someone should have taken a class in oxide mineralogy.
Ha ha
Attempt at National Distraction about Monica Lewinsky and “Cigar Gate”. Remember!

Reply to  RBom
September 24, 2016 12:40 pm

Tunnel vision and grandstanding are a bad combination.

Reply to  Resourceguy
September 24, 2016 12:44 pm

And the same party went on to put John Holdren on national TV to pronounce global warming caused the polar votex winter cold with unsupported sources that were withheld with the same stall and delay tactics used on all the other grand standing. That amounts to a pattern of Party stupidity and not just one administration representing it.

September 22, 2016 8:14 am
Kaiser Derden
September 22, 2016 9:25 am

just don’t wear any shirts with chicks on them …

Chris D.
September 22, 2016 10:36 am

I found the inclusion of Britney Schmidt to the panel curious, so looked her up. This probably hints at what the presser is about:
“Professor Schmidt’s area of interest and expertise is planetary ices and the early solar system. She is keenly interested in the habitability of icy worlds and collaborates actively with both geophysicists and biologists. From 2007 until present, Schmidt has assisted NASA Science Definition Teams for Europa missions in both assistant and advisory roles and played a key role in developing the recent Europa Clipper and Europa Lander mission concepts. As a fellow and research scientist at the University of Texas, she gained hands-on experience with Earth’s ice shelves, including the use of imaging and ice penetrating radar, to inform future studies of Europa. Her 2011 Nature paper advanced critical hypotheses regarding subsurface beneath chaos terrain on Europa. She is a co-investigator on a topographic imaging instrument selected for development for the future Europa Clipper Mission. She is the principal investigator of Sub-Ice Marine and Planetary Analog Ecosystems (SIMPLE) that will accomplish a comprehensive study of geophysics and biology beneath the McMurdo Ice Shelf using integrated imaging, ice penetrating radar, and subsurface exploration by marine vehicles. She has participated in two Antarctica field seasons, leading SIMPLE’s exploration in 2012, and will again deploy in 2014-2016.”

Reply to  Chris D.
September 22, 2016 12:21 pm

No relation to Gavin, I hope.

NZ Willy
September 22, 2016 12:32 pm

Presumably they’ll announce that the surface ice is seen to be moving around, so indicating a liquid ocean beneath the surface ice. At the least, some surface features are changing.

September 22, 2016 1:00 pm

They will claim to have found evidence that AGW has spread to Europa. This will distract from Hillary’s mounting woes and of course help fund more of NASA’s budget.

September 22, 2016 1:14 pm

Organic compounds would be better than Clinton meteorites with common mineral morphologies.

September 22, 2016 3:40 pm

Deep thoughts, by Robert Pappalardo
~ Europa is the most likely place to find life in the solar system today ~

September 22, 2016 6:39 pm

NASA has discovered that Quantum entanglement has meant that CO2 increases on earth causes Climate Change on Europa and predicts the same entanglement will cause the sun to explode 1.2433666 years earlier than it otherwise would – please panic, think of the children and grandchildren (to the power of 27) , NASA recommend mankind dismantling of civilization oh, and please send money.

September 26, 2016 8:31 pm

that was sure suspenseful and well worth the wait!
what was it?

%d bloggers like this:
Verified by MonsterInsights