Ice penetrating radar technology should be used to check for mammal life in the ocean of Europa. Whether such life exists is unknown, but the technology for answering such a question is available. A probe employing the ice penetrating radar technology might detect such mammals if it makes enough orbits around the Jovian moon.
It is essentially known that Europa has a subsurface ocean-that has been established by scientific observation, and there is extremely strong reason to believe that life exists in the waters of Europa because of the biology heuristic, “where there is water there is life.”
As an epistemological matter, there is a formal distinction between what is extremely probable and what is “known”, but this distinction is a mere formality for extremely high probabilities (above 99%). Those observers who are familiar with statistics can truthfully state that the formality between what is extremely probable and what is known can be disregarded for practical purposes, and that it is known that life exists in the waters of Europa, though it may be in microbial form.
The Outer Planet Flagship Mission — a joint NASA/JPL mission — is an excellent step in the right direction at trying to find life in the ocean of Europa, as long as the right equipment is used. Listed as part of the model payload of the mission are the following: Laser Altimeter, Radio Science, Ice Penetrating Radar, VIS-IR Imaging Spectrometer (VIRIS), UV Spectrometer, and a Thermal Instrument. Exactly how the agencies intend to use the equipment, whether for confirming the ocean of Europa or for attempting to detect life, is not publicly known.
Using this equipment merely for confirming the existence of an ocean in Europa is a waste of time and resources.
It is worth the expense to gamble on the possibility that the ocean of Europa has mammal life similar to Earth, and use suitable equipment to spot such life. Whether Europa has such mammals is unknown. It is commonplace that fish can be detected through ice on Earth by use of a fish finder. Such fish finders send out sound waves that are essentially the equivalent of ice penetrating radar.
Any probe going to Europa should be equipped with ice penetrating radar designed to detect mammal life, even though it is not known that mammal life exists in Europa. The possibility of finding such life merits the additional expense of the equipment.
Image Courtesy NASA/JPL – Europa: Evidence of Ocean Below Surface