Europa is Jupiter’s fourth largest moon and the sixth largest moon in the solar system. Based on observations of its smooth and icy surface, it is hypothesized that there could be an underground ocean of liquid water which may harbor life. At this distance from the sun it would be unlikely that any liquid water would form, but because of Europa’s slightly elliptical orbit around the very massive Jupiter, it is possible that tidal friction could occur and generate enough energy to melt ice below the surface. This is supported by the large craters on the surface which are filled with relatively fresh water ice and the geological activity of the planet, which is similar to Earth’s plate tectonics.

If there is in fact a sub-surface ocean on Europa, one hypothesis proposes that the ocean there is approximately twice the volume of Earth’s oceans and several kilometers below the surface ice. Another hypothesis proposes that the surface ice is even thinner. Astrobiologists are particularly interested in it because of the possibility of extraterrestrial life.

(images source: solarsystem.nasa.gov, www.jsg.utexas.edu)

  1. fughtopia reblogged this from par-for-the-curse
  2. acidpotatoes reblogged this from explodes-into-space
  3. pointo5lead reblogged this from par-for-the-curse
  4. offbeatearthangel reblogged this from explodes-into-space
  5. tanglef23 reblogged this from explodes-into-space and added:
    stop do you understand what science-based exploration is or are you just a person who thinks that even though earth will...
  6. literallycouldcareless reblogged this from explodes-into-space
  7. beokaywithit reblogged this from par-for-the-curse
  8. jbebop84 reblogged this from explodes-into-space
  9. tea-n-tattoos reblogged this from explodes-into-space
  10. explodes-into-space reblogged this from par-for-the-curse
  11. par-for-the-curse reblogged this from captainvytautas and added:
    This is cool, but also disturbing.The LAST thing we should be thinking about is invading another free frontier. We have...
  12. captainvytautas reblogged this from perpetual-dawn
  13. theplummer reblogged this from perpetual-dawn
  14. l-1-p-s reblogged this from perpetual-dawn
  15. stfuaddyson reblogged this from perpetual-dawn
  16. metavhysterie reblogged this from perpetual-dawn
  17. burntsystems reblogged this from perpetual-dawn
  18. nobedtimesnorules reblogged this from perpetual-dawn
  19. all-my-own-blunts reblogged this from perpetual-dawn
  20. lifestylepropaganda reblogged this from perpetual-dawn
  21. subvertnonsense reblogged this from perpetual-dawn
  22. fantasynotofthisworld reblogged this from s13lover
  23. teatimewithemie reblogged this from perpetual-dawn
  24. illvilja reblogged this from sassythought
  25. rednihilist reblogged this from sassythought
  26. sassythought reblogged this from perpetual-dawn