Water from Europa's Ocean Bursts Through the Surface Ice

Material from the surface makes its way to the water below

By on March 5th, 2013 22:51 GMT

Europa is one of the most exciting worlds in our solar system; it's been long believed that Jupiter's moon harbors a water ocean beneath its ice surface. The presence of liquid water makes the best candidate for finding life outside of our planet.

Now, researchers using the W. M. Keck Observatory on top of the Mauna Kea volcano in Hawaii, have found evidence that the liquid water raises to the surface occasionally, providing an avenue for material from the surface to flow into the ocean below and the other way around.

This exchange of material means that the ocean below is going to have a more complex chemistry than if it was isolated.

What's more, it also makes it possible to study the composition of the ocean with data gathered from the surface of the Jovian moon.

“That means that energy might be going into the ocean, which is important in terms of the possibilities for life there. It also means that if you’d like to know what’s in the ocean, you can just go to the surface and scrape some off,” Caltech astronomer Mike Brown, who made the discovery, explained.
Water on Europa bursts to the surface occasionaly
   Water on Europa bursts to the surface occasionaly
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