Through the data, the scientists learned that Europa's layers and subsurface oceans might have been created through a process known as differentiation. "We added up this volatiles that is estimated to have been lost from the interior, and found that they are consistent with the current ocean's predicted mass, meaning that they are probably present in the ocean". So it was established that various minerals lose water with volatile substances when exposed to different temperatures.
The research is yet to be peer-reviewed and has was presented on Wednesday, June 24, at the virtual Goldschmidt geochemistry conference.
Of all the worlds in our solar system, Jupiter's frosty moon Europa is on the list of places where we might found life. The researchers arrived at curious estimates suggesting that processes such as radioactive decay or tidal forces could have brought about sufficient heat to allow for liquid water on the icy moon, where surface temperatures never exceed about -140 degrees Celsius (-225 degrees Fahrenheit).
Daswani also said that microbes that are akin to a certain Earth bacteria known to use carbon dioxide for energy could have actually survived using certain ingredients that are already available in Europa's most early ocean.
Lead researcher Mohit Melwani Daswani said, "We were able to model the composition and physical properties of the core, silicate layer, and ocean".
The scrutiny of the locally observed radioactive decay led the scientists to believe that the moon might harbour life resembling that in the teeming ecosystems around Earth's hydrothermal vents - in the cold, murky depths of the ocean, volcanic vents seep heat into the waters around them.
Now a new computer model by NASA scientists lends further support to the theory that, beneath the thick, icy crust of Europa, the Jovian moon's interior ocean could be habitable.
NASA does have a mission in the works to visit the moon: the Europa Clipper.
The lead researcher stated that Europa is one of the best chances of finding life beyond Earth.
The simulation may also well be expanded to study other moons such as Europa's neighbour Ganymede, and Saturn's moon Titan, with the latter expected to have similarly formed oceans.
"We still need to understand several points though, such as how fluids migrate through Europa's rocky interior".
Now, scientists are working in collaboration with groups in Nantes and Prague to try to identify if seafloor volcanoes may have contributed to the evolution of the chloride-rich water on Europa.
"A long-standing question over whether a "cloaked ocean" world like Europa could be habitable boils down to whether it can sustain a flow of electrons which might provide the energy to power life", said Steve Mojzsis, a professor of geology at the University of Colorado who was not involved in this work.
NASA is now working on a mission to send a spacecraft to Europa to check it out. NASA has recently released new high-resolution photos of Europa, showing possible exploration sites to test these findings.
Preceding investigation has also discovered that Europa is really salty, leading experts to hope it has oceans comparable to these we have on Earth.
The next step will be investigating if some of the other conditions for life are likely.
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