The oceans of Europe, Jupiter’s moon , may be habitable , according to a new model developed by NASA, this 3,100 km diameter moon is the fourth largest moon in orbit around Jupiter and although it is smaller than our Luna itself, Europe is bigger than Pluto.
Voyager and Galileo spacecraft revealed images and data from Europe showing large deposits of water below the surface of the giant moon, however the chemical composition of these extraterrestrial oceans remains uncertain. Using the information gathered during the Galileo mission, researchers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory of NASA simulated under these conditions alien seas.
Orbiting Jupiter, five times farther from the Sun than Earth, Europe is, at first glance, a frozen world. However, beneath its frozen surface are oceans much larger than those of our planet; radioactive decay or the gravitational forces of its massive companion heat the ice, melting it in massive underground oceans, this heat also affects mineral deposits, releasing water. Mohit Melwani Daswani, a geochemical and planetary scientist at JPL indicates that they were able to model the composition and physical properties of the core, as well as the silicate layer and the ocean, in order to find that various minerals lose water and are volatile at different depths and temperatures.
The team found that the amount of mass they expected to be missing from Europe’s crust was almost the same as the mass of the oceans, suggesting that the water in that world comes from minerals found in Europe. The study also suggested that worlds orbiting other stars can also form water through chemical and physical processes that take place in mineral deposits.