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There may be life on Jupiter’s moon

According to the latest models, volcanic activity began 4.5 billion years ago and continues to this day in the depths of the moon of Jupiter, Europe. This phenomenon could also contribute to the emergence of life on an astronomical body with a huge ocean of salt water, dark on the outside but under a thick ice shield.

Scientists previously speculated that certain life forms may have emerged in Europe Geophysical Research Thesiss, published in a recent number of journals, confirms this hypothesis.

Our research found additional evidence that the underground ocean in Europe provides an environment conducive to the emergence of life. Th Books NASA website Mary Bhunkova, from Charles University in the Czech Republic. “Europa may be one of the few celestial bodies that has maintained its volcanic activity for billions of years and has enormous water reserves and a sustainable source of energy.”

Jupiter’s moon is called EuropaSource: NASA

What is the depth?

An outside observer probably does not understand why experts’ imaginations stirred an icy world relatively far from the sun, and seemed to be completely dead, with a surface temperature of barely -140 degrees Celsius. It might not be very useful to search for creatures on the surface of the moon, but the situation is very different when we look at the ocean hiding in the depths.

The life we ​​know depends to a large extent on the food chain based on plant photosynthesis, but there are organisms that live even in the darkest areas; The latter are bacteria that live on land near volcanic chimneys in the deep sea and accumulate by chemical synthesis.

Other creatures can, of course, ingest the bacteria, creating stable food chains where there is no light at all.

It is known that there is a global ocean of salt water beneath the surface of Europe. Note that the geysers emanating to the surface through cracks in the ice crust, in addition to analyzing the Hubble recordings, sodium chloride, meaning common kitchen salt, was found on the moon. These conditions alone give rise to life based on chemosynthesis, but so far no answer has been found whether there are hydrothermal chimneys at the hidden ocean floor of Europe.

An artistic representation of geysers in EuropeSource: NASA / ESA / K. Ritterford / SWRI

It is quite certain that there is intense volcanic activity on Jupiter’s deepest moon, Ion, which is being kept alive by the gravitational pull of the giant planet (and its other moons). Europa is further from Jupiter, so it is doubtful whether similar processes are taking place on it as Ionic. Bhunkova and his colleagues tried to do the same.

What did the simulation show?

Researchers have detailed how the interior of Europe evolved over billions of years. The simulations showed several mechanisms that prevent the entire moon from freezing.

The first is that, especially in early Europe, the decay of radioactive elements in the lunar mantle may have released great heat, keeping the celestial body warm from the inside.

The other thing is that over time, during orbit around Jupiter, tidal tension generated heat within Europe, melting the rock layers.

Then the resulting magma began to move volcanic processes that may continue today, especially near higher latitudes in the polar regions.

An artistic representation of the roof of EuropeSource: Afp

The new spacecraft will soon prove or disprove the theory

Fortunately, many space probes will explore Europe in the coming years.

One is a satellite called NASA’s Clipper, which will not orbit the moon, but will pass several times, near the celestial body, and use its cameras to take high-resolution images of its surface. His instruments will measure the strength and direction of Europe’s magnetic field, and radar penetrating the ice crust will determine how thick the ice is over the ocean. Similar measurements are expected from the European Space Agency (ESA) satellite called JUICE (JUpiter ICy moons Explorer).

A Clipper fantáziarajzaSource: NASA

The results of the model just described might provide a good indication of what researchers should be looking for.

Gravitational anomalies might indicate a deep rocky process, and the hydrogen and methane present in the thin atmosphere of Europe could be the product of chemical reactions around hydrothermal chimneys. Failure to identify fresh ocean sediments at the surface could indicate volcanic activity.

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