Jupiter’s Moon Europa Has Enough Oxygen To Support Life On Earth

Posted By Ben Goulding, 19 October, 2009 | permalink


New research shows that one of Jupiter’s moons, Europa, has enough oxygen available in it’s subsurface ocean to support life.

The global ocean on Jupiter’s moon Europa contains about twice the liquid water of all the Earth’s oceans combined. New research suggests that there may be plenty of oxygen available in that ocean to support life, a hundred times more oxygen than previously estimated.

The chances for life there have been uncertain, because Europa’s ocean lies beneath several miles of ice, which separates it from the production of oxygen at the surface by energetic charged particles (similar to cosmic rays). Without oxygen, life could conceivably exist at hot springs in the ocean floor using exotic metabolic chemistries, based on sulfur or the production of methane. However, it is not certain whether the ocean floor actually would provide the conditions for such life.

That would be awesome if life actually could exist there. Now all we’ve got to do is get there. I’ll fire up the sat-nav!


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