Jupiter's Moon Europa Can Harbor Life, New Study on its Subsurface Ocean Shows

Scientists have finally figured how the existing subsurface ocean located on Jupiter's own moon named Europa may have actually formed and also determined that this total vast expanse of water may have actually been able to support the microbial life through history.

Europa has an ocean that is hidden beneath a really thick shell of ice and has long been viewed as an actual potential habitat for certain extraterrestrial life around our solar system. This comes alongside the other candidates just like Mars as well as Saturn's moon named Enceladus. A recent study that has just been presented on Wednesday at the geoscience conference has underscored its potential.

Jupiter's moon, Europa

Europa's own ocean may have actually formed after the water-rich minerals started to eject their water thanks to heating that is caused by the decay of certain radioactive elements located in its interior early within its history, according to researchers.

The effects of the tides caused by Europa's own gravitational interactions with its planet Jupiter, which is the largest planet in the solar system, and the two other large Jovian moves both named Io and Ganymede, have also played a huge role.

According to the planetary scientist known as Mohit Melwani Daswani of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory of NASA, the study leader, said that they think that Europa's own oceans may have actually been habitable early when it previously formed because of their models showing the ocean's own compositions that may have been acidic but only mildly, containing some sulfate salts and carbon dioxide.

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The availability of water

It was also said that the availability of liquid water is also the first step towards habitability. In addition to this, the chemical exchange that happens between the ocean and also the rocky interior may have also been significant in the past so it is possible that potential life may have actually been able to feed off of this chemical energy in order to survive.

Daswani also said that microbes that are akin to a certain Earth bacteria known to use carbon dioxide for energy could have actually survived using certain ingredients that are already available in Europa's most early ocean.

Europa is also slightly a bit smaller than Earth's moon. The ocean of Europa is perhaps about 40 to 100 miles deep, and might even contain double the water found on Earth's oceans.

The study also evaluated whether Europa was also previously habitable and so far did not examine its present habitability, a certain question that the researchers are currently exploring.

Melwani Daswani simply noted "a word of caution" explaining that if a certain place is habitable, it does not actually mean that this place is already inhabited. This simply means that the conditions are in favor of allowing for the survival of some of the extremely hard forms of life that we are familiar with on Earth.

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