A few years ago, Europe became one of the most tangible targets for searching for living things in our solar system. Despite its distance from the sun, this satellite is protected by a thick outer layer of ice and has an enormous ocean of liquid water inside.
We are recently discovering that this outer layer of ice is not just a crust, but a dynamic system and a place to live in itself. Various radar observations indicate that it may contain an abundance of pockets of water, such as the “double rim” found here in Greenland.
“Because it’s closer to the surface, where interesting chemicals are sourced from space, other moons, and Io’s volcanoes, there’s a chance that life could have a chance if there were pockets of water in the crust,” he said. Dustin Schroeder, assistant professor of geophysics at Stanford University. “If the mechanism we see in Greenland is similar to that in Europe, there may be water everywhere.”
Rather than serving as an inert mass of ice, Europa’s mantle appears to undergo a variety of geological and hydrologic processes, including the presence of water plumes spiking from the surface. The dynamic ice crust supports habitability by facilitating the exchange between subterranean oceans and nutrients for nearby celestial bodies accumulating at the surface.
“We are another hypothesis above many: We only have the advantage that our hypothesis has some observations of similar traits forming on Earth to support it,” the study authors said. To express your confidence that something can really be found there.
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