Life on other planets? Jupiter’s moon Europa prime candidate

Politics

Are there life forms on other planets beyond Earth? Scientists believe the answer could be found on Jupiter’s moon, Europa, according to research published Tuesday by nature.com.

The evidence lies in Greenland.

“Double ridges are the most common surface feature on Europa and occur across every sector of the moon,” according to the paper published by Stanford University researchers, Riley Culberg, Dustin Schroeder and Gregor Steinbrugge, in which they compare “a double ridge in Northwest Greenland with the same gravity-scaled geometry as those found on Europa.”

“Jupiter’s moon Europa is a prime candidate for extraterrestrial habitability in our solar system,” it said. “The surface landforms of its ice shell express the subsurface structure, dynamics, and exchange governing this potential.”

Researchers used surface elevation and radar sounding data to show the “double ridge was formed by successive refreezing, pressurization, and fracture of a shallow water sill within the ice sheet” and “that shallow liquid water is spatially and temporally ubiquitous across Europa’s ice shell.”

The topographical makeup of Europa was previously retrieved by surface morphologies imaged by NASA’s Voyager and Galileo spacecraft.

“These ridges may extend for hundreds of kilometers and include some of the oldest features visible on the surface, with frequent cross-cutting implying numerous formation cycles over Europa’s history,” according to the data.

Scientists are captivated by Europa’s topography being similar to that of Greenland’s makeup because of “an icy double ridge discovered on the Greenland Ice Sheet with the same gravity-scaled geometry as Europa’s double ridges.”

The double ridge on Earth, which scientists used to make comparisons to Europa, is located 37 miles (60 kilometers) inland of the ice-sheet margin in Northwest Greenland, which covers 629,346 square miles (1.63 million square kilometers).

Source: Philippines News Agency

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