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Updated: Jun 25, 2022

🅜anaging expectations and finding mͫiͥcͨrͬoͦbiͥaͣl life

Image Credit: Tectonic plates on Europa Ron Miller

Four hundred years ago, a scientific revolution occurred when the Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei pointed his telescope to the night skies and declared a heliocentric universe, as evidenced by his telescopic findings that moons orbit a planet and not the Earth. It was believed that the Earth was the centre of the universe, making Galileo's observation a contradiction to the religious beliefs of the time.

That same place in our solar system is home to Europa, one of the four Galilean moons he discovered in 1610.

And just like that event four centuries ago, more discoveries about Europa have the breathtaking potential to revolutionize science once again and change our thinking about Earth life uniqueness because of Europa's potential for harboring life.

As the launch date looms for the Europa Clipper spacecraft to set sail to explore the oceanic world of Europa, the importance of getting "systems in place" for when planetary scientists may discover bio-signatures in its subsurface ocean is prudent.

NASA's former chief scientist James Green, and NASA's top Astrobiology scientist, Mary Voytek, are leading a fascinating paper called CoLD. It proposes a progressive scale to help scientists tell their story in the quest for finding life in our Solar system by building up a Confidence of Life Detection (CoLD) through progressive measurements.

Click on Image above to NASA's press release to read more about the CoLD Scale

This paper serves as a "conversation starter" with its many goals of helping scientists communicate accurately the various complex stages of finding bio-signatures elsewhere in our solar system and can aid in managing public expectations at large.

The paper has a "win-win" stamped all over it. It helps bring together scientists and the community to join the exhilarating journey of celebrating and cheering scientists through every delicate step of the complex stages.

And quoting the wise words of NASA's former Chief Scientist James Green explains;

"We should celebrate each and every one of those steps because it is making major progress along the way. It then enables the community to be solidly behind the next set of discoveries, the next set of missions needed and enables us to describe accurately to the public the accomplishments we have made and our next steps after that."

NASA's former Chief Scientist James Green

Click on Image above to access the fascinating podcast from October 2021, where James and Mary were guests on The Planetary Society Radio Show, hosted by Mat Kaplan.

The Planetary Society Radio Producer - Mat Kaplan

Click on image above to learn more about The Planetary Society

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