Sunday, March 4, 2012

This is a model of Europa's interior. The moon is thought to have a metallic core surrounded by a rocky interior, and then a global ocean on top of that, surrounded by a shell of water ice.
By Astrobiology Magazine contributor
updated 3/2/2012 1:46:23 PM ET
The ocean underneath the icy shell of Jupiter's moon Europa might be too acidic to support life, due to compounds that may regularly migrate downward from its surface, researchers say.
Scientists believe that Europa, which is roughly the size of Earth's moon, possesses an ocean perhaps 100 miles deep (160 kilometers). This ocean is overlain by an icy crust of unknown thickness, although some estimates are that it could be only a few miles thick.
Since there is life virtually wherever there is liquid water on Earth, for many years scientists have entertained the notion that this Jovian moon could support extraterrestrials. Recent findings even suggest its ocean could be loaded with oxygen, enough to support millions of tons worth of marine life like the kinds that exist on Earth.



Glenn A. Walsh, Project Director,
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