Jupiter’s moon Europa may have the necessary conditions to support life, according to a new study, according tomedia BGR. The planet’s interior is thought to have liquid water, and if these water had a stable heat source, life could exist or even multiply there. A new study, led by Mohit Melwani Daswani of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, suggests that not only is europa hidden in the ocean, but the interior of the planet may be divided into different layers, with the surface of the ice like a shell.
For some time now, researchers have suspected that there is or still has an ocean beneath Europa’s surface. Large cracks in the surface ice seem to indicate that something deep in Europa is still churning. Daswani and his team provide some additional context for this theory, and point out that once the thick surface ice has been cracked, a process called differentiation may be found to be the cause of a unique layer of liquid water and higher temperatures.
“Europa’s internal density is much larger than the outer layer,” Daswani told Space.com in an interview. “This has taught us a very important attribute about Europa’s history and geology. It must go through high heat in order to differentiate. “
Over time, Europa cools down and there is still an ocean of liquid water inside, possibly due to a variety of factors. Jupiter’s gravity and the rich moons surrounding it may provide enough energy for the inner water to ensure it remains liquid. Another theory is that the decay of radioactive elements deep in Europa provides enough heat to maintain the stable body of water around it, which is another possibility.