Beneath the surface of Europe may be the large lake
After analyzing the data of the spacecraft Galileo, astronomers came to the conclusion that under the surface of Europa (moon of Jupiter) may hide large bodies of water, equal in volume to the Great lakes in America. From this it follows that Europe has the conditions for the origin of life.
“Galileo” has already helped to establish the existence of a salty ocean on Europa. It is very deep and the water volume exceeds the total volume of earth’s oceans. Because of the distance from the Sun the upper part of the ocean is constantly covered with a thick ice crust. According to most scholars, the thickness of this ice crust is tens of kilometers.
Until recently it was thought that the thick ice shell does not evolve life, because the surface does not communicate with the fluid part of the ocean on Europa. But now scientists have proof that this shell can be quite actively agitated. With the formation of giant shallow lakes.
Britney Schmidt — lead author of the study from the Institute of Geophysics of the University of Texas, together with his team focused on the images of the two knobby and rounded sections of the surface of Europa, which was called Thera Macula and Conamara. The researchers developed the four-step model explaining the occurrence of such relief. For this purpose they started from observable Earth processes: the formation of ice caps over volcanoes in Iceland and the destruction of the ice shelves of the Antarctic.
As the analysis has shown that “chaotic terrain” on the surface of Jupiter’s moon could be formed as a result of active exchange between the lake and underlying ice shell. In other words, between the oceans of Europe and the surface is the transfer of energy and nutrients. And this significantly increases the chances of the origin of life.
According to preliminary data, pocket, forming a lake called Thera Macula can remain in a liquid state at about 300 thousand years. These regions cover about half of Europe.
The authors of the study believe in the right, however, because at the lake there is the ice shell thickness of several kilometers, to certify the correctness of scientists can only space probe designed to study the icy shell. Who knows, maybe NASA will be able to send to Europe for such a probe.
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