Underground Europa, a moon of Jupiter, could be rich in oxygen


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Scientists believe that some icy moons in the outer solar system probably contain an ocean beneath their icy envelope. Among them, European countries, one of the moons of Jupiter, which has the ocean of liquid water purchased under its icy shell and which is considered today as one of the best hopes for finding an extraterrestrial life form. A new study suggests that areas of partially melting water ice could supply oxygen to the ocean, providing the right conditions for life.

Scientists have already detected in European countries all the parameters conducive to low-life development: low water, low oxygen and other elements, such as carbon and sulphur. The oxygen comes from the reactions between the charged particles coming from solar radiation and the water molecules present on the surface area of ​​Europe: the ze bonds break, the hydrogen escapes into space and the heavier oxygen remains on the surface area. The only downside: the crust of ice that surrounds this moon, whose thickness is between 15 and 25 kilometers, acting as an impassable barrier between the liquid ocean below and the oxygen absorbed on the surface area which.

Opinion to consider that a life appeared in the deep locan cuando loxygne can not agree? Marc Hesse, a professor in the Department of Geological Sciences at the University of Tx Austin texas and co-author of the new study, suggests that oxygen could be transported to the ocean by sober water selling to it. Understated effect, some specific areas of the water ice crust are partially melted under the effect of ocean convection currents. These brine basins induce the development of chaotic lands, would favor the transport of the purchased water to the ocean which.

Oxygen levels that can reach those of the oceans on Earth

A published study on Earth2011 in Characterhad already suggested a sober presence in these chaotic terrains, sony ericsson forming above sober vast pockets of liquid water within a sober una icy shell, only three kilometers deep below a surface area. These chaotic terrains are the origin of the streaks, ridges and cracks that run through the surface area of ​​Europe; they brood about 04% of its surface area.

chaos surfaces Europe
Des taches rougetres et des fosses peu profondes parsment la surface strie dEurope, sur cette image prise par le vaisseau Galileo de la NASA. Les bassins deau sale existant sous ce terrain chaotique pourraient amener de loxygne vers locan souterrain de la lune. NASA/JPL/Universit de lArizona/Universit du Colorado

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Reddish flecks and shallow pits dot a streaky surface area of ​​Europa, in this image taken by the Galileo spacecraft over a Nasa. The pools of water existing beneath this chaotic ground could bring oxygen to the moon’s subterranean ocean. NASA/JPL/University of Arizona/University of Co

In this new study, the researchers rely on computer models to show that the oxygen-rich brine could evolve in these atypical terrains. This kind of research is directly related to NASA’s Europa Dog clipper objective, which plans to send a probe to explore this moon of Jupiter in detail in October 2024, hoping con to find a sober life; scientists try to consider all the factors in Europe in order to best prepare for the upcoming objective.

The model designed by the researchers shows that brine flows in a distinct way , in the form of a sober wave porosity has gradually moved in an ice which; the skin pores of the ice widen momentarily, allowing the brine to pass through before closing again. The process would take several thousand years. Near 20% of the oxygen soaked up the surface area could be transported in this way to the European ocean. Our research brings this process into the realm of achievable , said Hesse.

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The brine and the oxygen absorbed on the surface of Europe are transferred through a low ice layer by a low porosity wave to the liquid water channel. A red color indicates higher oxygen levels. Michael. Hesse et al.

Available data suggests that a wide range of sober oxygen levels may have been delivered to the European ocean during sober history. The most optimistic quotes suggest that oxygen levels in this ocean could be similar to terrestrial oceans! from the submission of the chaotic terrains and the age of the surface area of ​​Europe, we estimate that the drainage of the brines could deliver O

2 locan rate 2.0 106 1.3 1004 mol/year , write the researchers in their syndication. Which only strengthens the hope of finding a form of life in this underground ocean. It is tempting to think that aerobic organisms live just under the ice

, said Steven Vance, a researcher at NASA’s Plane Propulsion Lab and co-author of the study.

An ocean kept liquid thanks to the submarine factors

European countries, like the other moons subjugating Jupiter, are subject to significant sober pool energies. Boy’s orbit is elliptical, which varies the length that extra over Jupiter. As Sony Ericsson moves closer to Jupiter, the gravitational pull increases, causing the moon’s shape to elongate; while as it moves away from the planet, the powerful gravitational pull decreases, causing European countries to adopt a more spherical shape, creating pools in the ocean which.

Scientists have not yet fully grasped a relationship between the chaotic landscape of Europe and the transport over oxygen, but they believe that the currents over convection over the ocean caused by the causes over the pond generate overheating which partially melts ice (energy orbital is dissipated as sober heat in the overall sober una moon). Previous studies show that the heating by the tides increases the temperature of the upwellings in the convective part of the European ice shell up to the blend stage of genuine ice cream, write the authors. A presence of salt chloride in the ice would further promote melting. When the ice under the brine is sufficiently melted, then this last theory can soberly flow to the ocean. : water, oxygen (and other chemical elements) and sober energy. One of the objectives of the Europa Dog clipper objective is to improve the quotations concerning oxygen levels and the availability of other molecules necessary for life. To do this, the probe will carry no less than ten scientific tools, including the Bulk Spectrometer for Planetary Pursuit/Europa (MASPEX), designed to collect, identify and quantify all the typical gases on this moon.

Supply :D. Hesse et al., Geophysical Analysis Words