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New discovery adds weight to possibility of life on Europa

By T.K. Randall
September 24, 2023 · Comment icon 12 comments

Is there life on Europa ? Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
Scientists have discovered the presence of one of the most crucial ingredients for life on Jupiter's icy moon.
When it comes to seeking out signs of extraterrestrial life within our own solar system, no target has proven more tantalizing than Europa - a world thought to be home to a potentially habitable ocean of liquid water hidden deep beneath a thick icy exterior shell.

It's by no means a large world - measuring around 2,000 miles across (slightly smaller than the Earth's moon) - but its ocean, if it has one, could be up to 100 miles deep.

Now scientists analyzing data captured by the James Webb Space Telescope have revealed one more reason to get excited about its prospects as a home to alien life - the presence of carbon.

The findings suggest that carbon-dioxide ice on Europa's surface has come from the depths of the Jovian moon's subterranean ocean, several miles down beneath the icy crust.
"This is a big deal and I am very excited by it," said study co-author and geochemist Dr Christopher Glein. "We don't know yet if life is actually present in Europa's ocean."

"But this new finding adds evidence to the case that Europa's ocean would be a good bet for hosting extant life. That environment looks tantalizing from the perspective of astrobiology."

The discovery is particularly important because of where the carbon is likely to have originated.

"The discovery of carbon dioxide in salt-rich regions of Europa's ice shell indicates that the CO2 is coming from the ocean below and not from outside sources, such as meteorites and ions bombarding Europa," said NASA's Kevin Hand.

Source: The Guardian | Comments (12)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #3 Posted by TripGun 10 months ago
Comment icon #4 Posted by qxcontinuum 10 months ago
And yet Nasa continues to spend billions on Mars missions to reinvent the wheel while the rest of the solar system possibly teaming with life, remains unexplored.   
Comment icon #5 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf 10 months ago
Mars still remains a planet where life might exist/has existed in the past, it is also considerably easier and cheaper to reach than the moons of the outer planets. ESA's Juice spacecraft is already on it's way to explore the icy moons of Jupiter. NASA will be launching the Europa Clipper spacecraft in just two weeks time in order to take images of Europa for a future lander. So, apart from your abject failure to do any relevant research, what exactly is your problem?
Comment icon #6 Posted by qxcontinuum 10 months ago
50 spacecraft missions , trillions of dollars spend and near 0 novelties published. Everything Nasa has been telling us about Mars was known since 70's . I hope India will send a rover to Mars, will learn something new for sure.  Ohh and I forgot to add: this trend continues since 1969
Comment icon #7 Posted by Piney 10 months ago
Even Pluto and Ceres might have subsurface oceans.
Comment icon #8 Posted by Abramelin 10 months ago
Really? Then show us.
Comment icon #9 Posted by qxcontinuum 10 months ago
Ask your father , he knows 
Comment icon #10 Posted by Abramelin 10 months ago
I asked you. Can't ask my father; I'll have to dig him up first.
Comment icon #11 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf 10 months ago
You are still more likely to get a straight answer from your father. You are asking for an answer from an archetypal conspiracy theorist, good luck with that. As you can see all you will get is avoidance. He repeatedly peddles the same half-truths and lies despite any evidence to the contrary. He has been making this same claim for years and has never once provided any of evidence to support his claim... for the simple reason that there is no evidence to support his claim. He is incapable of distinguishing between what was suspected in the 1970s and what is known now. He simply does not unders... [More]
Comment icon #12 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf 10 months ago
My apologies, I misread the launch date and mixed it up with that of Psyche, it's actually 1st October 2024. However this doesn't change the fact that @qxcontinuumhas once again completely ignored reality when it doesn't fit with his narrative.

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