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Scientists say life on Jupiter’s moon Europa is possible

The researchers are hoping their study will better plan for the completion of NASA’s Europa Clipper project in the coming years.

The inner ocean could be able to support life in Jupiter’s moon Europa, NASA scientists say.
Their research is focused on computational models of the lakes under Europa ‘s ice-shell floor, one of the Solar System ‘s largest planets.
Calculations by scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory ( JPL) in California suggest that this global ocean may have evolved by the dissolution of water-containing minerals.

Their work, which has not been peer-reviewed yet, was presented at the Goldschmidt Geochemistry Conference in Virtual 2020.

The researchers developed their model using data from NASA’s Galileo mission and the NASA and European Space Agency’s Hubble Space Telescope.
Hubble discovered reports of surface erupting water vapor plumes in 2016.
Findings indicate that ocean worlds such as Europa may be created by metamorphism, a shift of rock composition or shape through fire, pressure or other natural phenomena.

The scientists suggest that heating and enhanced pressure, likely induced by natural nuclear processes or tidal displacement produced by the gravity of Jupiter, will result in water-containing minerals being broken down to release trapped water.

Lead researcher Dr Mohit Melwani Daswani said: “We believe that this ocean could be quite habitable for life.”

He added: “NASA’s Europa Clipper mission will launch in the next few years, and so our work aims to prepare for the mission, which will investigate Europa’s habitability.”

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