Europa, one of the moons of Jupiter, can be even more promising for the existence of Life. The satellite has an icy crust covering a vast global ocean, and now scientists believe that the rock layer just below may be hot enough to have underwater volcanoes.
The new research, published recently in Geophysical Research Letters, along with computer models, suggests that volcanic activity has occurred on the seabed in the recent past. This action may even be happening. THE NASA hopes to have more details about the activity with the Europa Clipper mission, which is due to launch in 2024. The probe will fly over the cold moon and collect measurements that can help scientists in 2030, when it gets there.
For the time being the researchers are based on the evidence that Europa shelters an ocean between the frozen crust and the rocky interior. Inside, the heat may be enough to partially melt this rock layer, a process capable of feeding underwater volcanoes.
One explanation for Europa's rocky mantle being hot enough is Jupiter's great gravitational pull on the moon. While the satellite revolves around the planet giant, the interior of Europe flexes. This contortion forces energy into the moon, which leaks out like heat. The more bending, the more heat is generated.
The study comes after decades of speculation about volcanic activity on the moon.
Scientists' analyzes further suggest that volcanic activity in Europe is more likely to happen near the poles. If these volcanoes are really present, it is possible that they will feed a hydrothermal system, similar to the one that helps life on the bottom of the oceans here on Earth.
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