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Ganymede may harbor ice and ocean layers

Posted on Sunday, 4 May, 2014 | Comment icon 6 comments

Peeling back the layers of Ganymede's interior. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
The largest moon in our solar system could be home to a subterranean 'club sandwich' of ice and oceans.
The internal structure of Jupiter's moon Ganymede could be a lot more complex than previously thought according to a new NASA-funded study that has found evidence that there could be several layers of ice and water below its surface.

"Its ocean is huge, with enormous pressures, so it was thought that dense ice had to form at the bottom of the ocean," said NASA's Steve Vance. "When we added salts to our models, we came up with liquids dense enough to sink to the sea floor."

Scientists believe that the presence of this "club sandwich" structure could make the formation of life a lot more plausible, particularly at the points where the different layers meet.

Ganymede is one of several icy moons thought to contain subterranean oceans of liquid water with Jupiter's Europa and Saturn's Enceladus being two other notable examples.

Source: | Comments (6)

Tags: Ganymede, Jupiter

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by Paranomaly on 4 May, 2014, 20:30
Send a probe!
Comment icon #2 Posted by Sundew on 4 May, 2014, 21:34
Suddenly I'm hungry for bacon!
Comment icon #3 Posted by paperdyer on 4 May, 2014, 22:06
Europa was always supposed to be the "prize". I guess if Jupiter had become a star, we'd have a mini system orbiting another star.
Comment icon #4 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 4 May, 2014, 23:03
Europa was always supposed to be the "prize". I guess if Jupiter had become a star, we'd have a mini system orbiting another star. Possibly, but irrelevant, Jupiter was never anywhere close to being a star. Had it accumulated enough mass to get even close the Galilean moons would probably have been unable to form anyway.
Comment icon #5 Posted by ancient astronaut on 5 May, 2014, 3:30
Is "club sandwich" a scientific term?
Comment icon #6 Posted by Sundew on 22 March, 2015, 1:26
Sure seems water/ice is pretty common, at least in our solar system, and presumably throughout the galaxy as well. I would say that alone greatly raises the chances for life elsewhere.

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