I would love to think we might find life of some sort on a planet or moon inside our own solar system. Many think that one of the bodies in our solar system most likely to harbor life of some sort would be Europa, one of Jupiter's moons. Scientists have conjectured that under the icy surface of Europa there are lakes or oceans of liquid water.
A new report published recently by scientists predicts that small lakes might exist only 3 km below the surface of Europa. Scientists have long though that as far as 100 miles below the surface of Europa heat and forces inside the planet might have created an ocean of liquid water. The problem with sending a probe to test the theory is that at 100 miles beneath the surface of ice, getting to the water is impossible.
The new paper suggest that Europa might have small lakes as close to the surface as 3km. These small lakes would be much easier to reach in some future mission. The idea is the warmer water might be making its way up from deep within the planet and melting the ice at points to create the lakes. A probe would be much more likely to sample water at that depth.
[via BBC News]