Jupiter is the largest planet in the solar system and has no less than 79 large and small moons.
Europa is the fourth largest moon among them, slightly smaller than Earth’s moon, but also one of the most interesting in terms of the search for possible extraterrestrial life.
Researchers at Stanford University are now wrapping up New study Europe is the most promising candidate for finding life in the solar system.
They wrote in Nature Communications, Europe’s seas could sustain life.
Link to Greenland
For more than 20 years, researchers have been interested in the icy surface of Europe.
Europe is covered in giant parallel rise formations similar to those seen on the ice surface in Greenland.
These are “double ridges” with peaks that can reach almost 300 meters in height. Between these wide valleys.
Researchers don’t know how they formed, but a group of researchers who studied Greenland’s ice interiors recently found similar formations in the ice there.
The researchers depicted in Nature Communications How Greenland’s ice edges, which are about 50 times smaller than those in Europe, formed when shallow pools of water froze below the surface and repeatedly cracked the surface, eventually forming these formations.
Researchers believe the same thing happened in Europe.
can carry food
If Europa’s double ridges were formed in this way as well, the researchers think this indicates that shallow pockets of water must have been, or may still be, common in the moon’s thick ice crust.
And although the surface of Europa consists of a thick ice crust 15-25 kilometers long, it floats on an ocean estimated to be 60-150 kilometers deep.
Europe probably contains twice as much water as Earth. This could mean that the chances of life developing on the Moon are greater than previously thought.
If the ice ridges crossing Europe were formed in the same way as in Greenland, pockets of water below the surface of the ice could help transport nutrients to the salty sea. Nutrients necessary for life.
– really exciting
In Greenland, water flows into subterranean pockets of surface lakes, but in Europe, researchers believe liquid water is forced to rise to the surface from the sea below through cracks in the ice crust.
This influx of water could help distribute the oxygen and nutrients necessary for life in Europe’s oceans.
“It’s really exciting to imagine life has a chance here,” says senior study author Dustin Schroeder in a press release.
“This movement of water could help distribute the chemicals essential to life in Europe’s oceans,” he says.
The Stanford team’s interest in the topic was sparked by a presentation on Europe that mentioned hill formations.
This reminded the researchers of something they had observed in northwest Greenland.
On the Greenland ice sheet, there’s a double ridge just like the ones we see on Jupiter’s moon Europa, says Riley Kohlberg, a geophysicist at Stanford University.
NASA’s Europa Clipper satellite, which will be launched in 2024, is expected to shed more light on how formations might appear on Jupiter’s moon. Then you must use radars to search under the ice and gather information about the composition of the water.
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