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Evidence of Lakes Beneath Europa’s Ice

Chaos terrain on Europa suggests subsurface lakes. (NASA/JPL/Ted Stryk)

New research on Jupiter’s ice-covered moon Europa indicates the presence of a subsurface lake buried beneath frozen mounds of huge jumbled chunks of ice. While it has long been believed that Europa’s ice lies atop a deep underground ocean, these new findings support the possibility of large pockets of liquid water being much closer to the moon’s surface — as well as energy from the Sun — and ultimately boosting the possibility that Europa could harbor life.

“Now we see evidence that it’s a thick ice shell that can mix vigorously, and new evidence for giant shallow lakes. That could make Europa and its ocean more habitable.”

– Britney Schmidt, Institute for Geophysics, University of Texas at Austin

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About Jason Major

Jason is a Rhode Island-based graphic designer, photographer, nature lover, space exploration fanatic, and coffee addict. In no particular order.

Posted on November 16, 2011, in Jupiter and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. I saw this in a Nature article, whether it was a news highlight or their research I will look again. Fascinating development for those studying or hoping for life in extreme environments. Presence of brine, ice crystals and just tiny proportions of dissolved organic components could be enough to harbour microbiological life. Would have had to have been delivered by panspermia though?

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