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Heroes

If aliens exist, this moon is where we'll probably find them.

NASA is making plans to send a probe to Europa — one of Jupiter's more than 60 moons — and you wanna know why we should all be excited about this?

Image from NASA/JPL-Caltech.


There's a chance (probably a good one) they're gonna find aliens there.

He's not mad, he's just excited about so much science happening. GIF from "Star Wars: A New Hope."

Here's the thing — while Europa's surface might look like a big, dusty rock, it's actually ice. And below that ice might be a gigantic ocean.

Seriously, Europa's ocean is huge. Even though Earth is more than four times larger in diameter than Europa, it is estimated that Europa has more than twice as much ocean water.

Image from Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

That's important because liquid water and life are totally in love with each other. In fact, just about every place on Earth where we've found liquid water, we've found life.

Image from Bruno de Giutsi/Wikimedia Commons.

High in the atmosphere? Check. Buried under miles of rock? Is there water? Then there's life! There's even bacteria inside nuclear waste disposal dumps!

Life, uh, finds a way. Image from Michael Daly/Uniformed Services University/Wikimedia Commons.

So, if there is liquid water under Europa's icy surface, it is extremely likely that there are signs of life below.

Image from Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

OK, yes, we know, we know — if the entire moon is covered in ice, then how is that alien life getting energy? Doesn't it need sunlight?

Image from NASA/JPL-Caltech.

And that's very astute of you to wonder — but here's your answer: On Earth, deep-sea vents are capable of powering entire alien ecosystems.

Yes, Europa's icy surface probably means the oceans are completely dark, and yes, most food chains on Earth are based around the sun, but let us introduce you to our little friend: thehydrothermal vent.

Image from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

On Earth, these vents exist deep under the ocean where sunlight never penetrates. Instead the life around them gets its energy from the superheated water and chemicals that erupt up from vents.

Europa is constantly being squeezed by Jupiter's gravity like an giant stress ball, which means it probably has an active, molten core just like Earth's.

An artist's impression of Europa's surface, with Jupiter visible in the background. Image via NASA/JPL-Caltech.

A molten core means vents, and vents may mean life. In fact, there's even a theory that suggests life on Earth first developed around similar vents on Earth!

To find out if there is life under Europa's icy surface, scientists are sending a probe into orbit around Jupiter that will also make close passes by Europa.

The surface of Europa. Image from NASA/JPL-Caltech/SETI Institute.

This will give the probe a chance to examine the moon, using tools like radar and spectrometers to learn more about its geology, it's stress-ball relationship with Jupiter, and what kinds of processes might be going on under the ice.

But that's not even the coolest thing about the probe — the coolest thing is the taste test the probe will conduct on one of its trips past Europa.

Images from the Hubble Telescope hint that giant plumes of water sometimes blast out of Europa's ocean like geysers, shooting some of its ocean water high into space.

Artist's depiction. Image from NASA/ESA/K. Retherford/SWRI/Wikimedia Commons.

The scientists are planning to add a bunch of robot tongues — essentially — to the front of their spacecraft and send it diving through the spray from these geysers to "taste" all that water and see what kinds of chemicals or possible lifeforms it can detect.

If there are aliens to be found, it's likely we'd find some trace of them on Europa. Meaning this mission could be the single biggest scientific discovery ever.

OK, so if they do find aliens, they're probably not going to look as pretty as Spock...

GIF from "Star Trek."

...or as be as suave as Chewie.


GIF from "Star Wars: A New Hope."

In fact, they'll probably look more like bacteria or algae. But alien algae would be totally cool too – because anything we find down there that's alive would totally revolutionize our concept of life in the universe. If life is so common that it could arise twice around a single star, then imagine what an entire galaxy's worth of planets and moons and stars could look like.

And even if they don't find any aliens, this mission is still worth celebrating because it's an awesome chance for us to explore our solar system and learn more about the universe we live in.

Watch NASA's animation about their mission to Europa below. And get excited! This could be the first step to finding aliens — real aliens — in our lifetime.

Pedro Pascal and Bowen Yang can't keep a straight face as Ego Nwodim tries to cut her steak.

Most episodes of “Saturday Night Live” are scheduled so the funnier bits go first and the riskier, oddball sketches appear towards the end, in case they have to be cut for time. But on the February 4 episode featuring host Pedro Pascal (“The Mandalorian,” “The Last of Us”), the final sketch, “Lisa from Temecula,” was probably the most memorable of the night.

That’s high praise because it was a strong episode, with a funny “Last of Us” parody featuring the Super Mario Brothers and a sketch where Pascal played a protective mother.

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AMC Theaters/Youtube, Variety/Twitter

AMC announced that it would be implementing a new three-tier ticketing system.

AMC Theaters, America’s largest movie theater chain, announced on Feb 6 that it will be adopting different ticket prices based on seat location.

Moviegoers will have three tiers to choose from based on sightline of the movie screen—Preferred Sightline, set in the middle at the highest price point, Value Sightline, set in the front of the auditorium at the lowest price, and Standard Sightline, which is basically everything else (including the back seats, which are perhaps the most commonly picked) set at the traditional cost of a ticket.

In other words…heartbreak will feel more expensive in a place like this…or less, depending on where you sit



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Pop Culture

Keanu Reeves shocks a small-town pub by stopping in for a pint and taking photos with the staff

“So today we had a surprise visitor for lunch. What a lovely man he was, too."

Keanu Reeves in São Paulo, Brazil, 2019.

Keanu Reeves has a reputation as one of Hollywood’s nicest celebrities. Recently, he cheered up an 80-year-old fan who had a crush on him by calling her on the phone. He’s also bought an ice cream cone for a fan to give an autograph on the receipt and crashed a wedding to take photos with the bride and groom.

He’s also an incredible humanitarian who gave up a big chunk of his money from "The Matrix" to a cancer charity.

The “John Wick” star was his usual gracious self over the weekend when on Saturday, February 4, he and a friend walked into The Robin Hood pub in Tring, Hertfordshire, about 30 miles outside of London.

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via Pexels

A mother puts a fresh diaper on her baby.

Scientists at Penn State University have devised a “smart diaper” that alerts parents when their baby is wet. The diaper is made of paper, treated with sodium chloride (salt) and has a circuit board drawn with a pencil.

When the humidity level rises in the diaper, the graphite and the urine are absorbed by the paper and it turns on a sensor powered by a small lithium battery. The sensor then sets the alarm on an app that parents download onto their phones.

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Pop Culture

Kelly Clarkson and Pink's gorgeous unplugged 'What About Us?' duet came with a timely​ message

"We're not listening to each other right now. And it's so loud, and so gross, and so angry…"

Pink and Kelly Clarkson teamed up for a sweet acoustic version of "What About Us?"

Pink and Kelly Clarkson are both known for having powerhouse voices that can belt at incredible ranges but also soften for a sweet ballad. Put the two of them together, and…well, dang.

On Feb 6, Clarkson featured Pink on her daytime talk show, in which she often sings with musical guests. The two superstars sang several acoustic duets with pitch-perfect harmonies, prompting fans of both artists to clamor for a collaborative album.

One song they sang together was Pink's "What About Us?" Pink previously described the song to The Sun in 2017: "The world in general is a really scary place full of beautiful people. Humans are resilient and there's a lot of wonderful—like I said in the song—'billions of beautiful hearts' and there are bad eggs in every group. And they make it really hard for the rest of us."

In the intro to their duet, Clarkson asked Pink about the impetus behind her writing the song.

"We're not listening to each other right now. And it's so loud, and so gross, and so angry and people are being forgotten," Pink shared. "People are being counted out and their rights are being trampled on just because a group of people doesn't believe in them."

"Like, I don't understand how so many people in this world are discounted because one group of people decided they don't like that," she continued. "And I won't—I won't have it. One of the most beautiful things that my dad taught me was that my voice matters and I can make a difference, and I will."

The lyrics of the song seem to address the political leaders and decision-makers who hold people's lives in their hands as they pull the levers of power. It's a beautiful song with an important message wrapped up in gorgeous two-part harmony.

Enjoy:

Saturday Night Live/Youtube

"It's a me."

Pedro Pascal and HBO seem to be a match made in pop culture heaven. His role in the fourth season of “Game of Thrones” shot him to notoriety. He’s currently starring in “Last of Us,” which also boasts a massive viewership.

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