There has been remarkable progress in identifying a certain type of biosignature, both from the point of view of the payloads of forthcoming missions, and from the point of view of biogeochemistry. This progress has been due to the evolution of miniaturized mass spectrometry that can be used, under certain circumstances and for certain samples, to distinguish between putatively abiotic and biotic sulphur isotopes. These specific types of biosignatures are discussed in the context of Europa and Ganymede. Such instruments are sufficiently precise to differentiate between abiotic and biotic signatures. We reflect on new possibilities that will be available during this decade for exploring the nearest ocean worlds: Europa and Ganymede. We review arguments that point out the presence of intriguing sulphur patches on Europa’s icy surface that were discovered by the Galileo mission. These patches lead to a “sulphur dilemma”, which suggests not to focus future measurements exclusively on organics. We comment on the possibility of measurements of sulphur isotopes, as one kind of biosignature, to be complemented with additional biosignatures, in order to fully test biogenicity. These suggestions are intended to point out the best use of the available spacecrafts’ payloads during the planning of the forthcoming Jovian missions.
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