Jupiter’s Europa or frying pan? NASA wants you to decide

25 Aug 2015

A collation of images taken from NASA's Galileo spacecraft. Image via NASA/JPL-Caltech/SETI Institute

Think you know your photos of Jupiter’s moon Europa from the bottom of a frying pan? Well, then think again, as NASA challenges the public to guess which one of nine images is actually Europa.

Europa remains one of the most fascinating bodies in our solar system given its position as the most likely candidate (although by no means a certainty) to contain examples of life beneath its icy surface, which could contain a vast, deep ocean.

To this end, the European Space Agency (ESA) recently announced its intentions to launch the JUICE (JUpiter ICy moons Explorer) spacecraft to go to Europa in 2022 while also taking in Jupiter’s other moons, Ganymede and Callisto.

While it will be some time before we see the JUICE spacecraft embark on its important mission, NASA has released a series of incredible photographs, which will likely see the average person struggle to tell the difference between the bottom of a frying pan and the distant icy moon.

The series of nine photos each vary in colour, but vaguely resemble each other in what has to be one of the toughest ‘spot the odd one out’ competitions going.

If you’ve given up all hope of guessing which one it is, the answer is below.

It’s the middle-left photo.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic