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Will Europa be the first place humanity will discover extraterrestrial life, if it is discovered by 2045?
Every astrobiologist and their brother is excited about the possibility of life on Jupiter's moon, Europa. And for good reason. It's likely got more liquid water than our fair Earth does. Thanks to Jupiter's gravitation tugging, there's almost certainly lots of volcanic activities beneath those seas to create an environment similar to the one we suspect gave rise to life on this planet.
In addition to fantasizing extensively about discovering life on Europa, our species has been busy preparing recon missions to sample tasty plumes of water+organics fulminating off the surface. Maybe we'll get lucky and find convincing proof of biological activity on Europa with the Clipper mission.
Or maybe not.
Europa is far away. It's bathed in horrific radiation. It's cold. Its environment would be mean to our drills. And there might not even be life there.
Meanwhile, other (slightly) more hospitable places – Mars, hint, hint – may also house life. Or maybe boosters of Titan or Enceladus will convince us to go to those worlds first, and we'll find the first alien life there. Or maybe life won't be found at all in the solar system. Or maybe SETI will come through. Or our new mega powerful telescopes will reveal life on extra solar worlds. Or maybe aliens have already found us!
What's your take? Question resolves positive if humanity by 2045 discovers convincing evidence of life on Europa and does so before detecting extra terrestrial life anywhere else in the universe. Resolves negative if by 2045 extraterrestrial life is found convincingly elsewhere prior to on Europa. Resolves ambiguous if no extraterrestrial life is found by 2045. (Note: extraterrestrial life must be (a) living currently and (b) highly unlikely to be a result of contamination by Earth spacecraft. This leaves open the possibility of life transported from Earth via other non-human-engineered means.)
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