The huge discovery could lead to a breakthrough in the search for alien life.
An amazing discovery finds that Jupiter’s moon Europe is a lot more active than we thought.
Europa, Jupiter’s fourth largest moon, is stretched constantly by Jupiter’s tremendous pull, creating a lot of tectonic activity on the moon. This new study seems to indicate that it’s generating a lot more heat than we thought, and scientists may be able to use this to estimate the thickness of the surface — and this may help us find extraterretrial life, according to a Brown University statement.
Galileo first discovered Europa and the other three largest moons — Io, Ganymede, and Callisto — back in the early 1600s, and it was until hundreds of years later that NASA sent a spacecraft in the 1970s and 1990s to explore them further.
We unlocked of fascinating secrets about our Solar System with these visits. Instead of finding cold, dead rocks, but instead found that they were very dynamic places with a lot of tectonic activity, constantly moving and cracking.
Europa was particularly interesting because it appears to have mushy ice on its surface, and the onlyl way it could have that is if these processes were creating enough heat to make up for the lack of strong sunlight.
However, scientists don’t yet understand these processes well, which is what makes this discovery so important.
Scientists made this discovery by running some experiments, placing ice samples into a compression appartus and then subjecting them to loads similar to those that Europa is experiencing. They found that the ice deforms and then rebounds in a way that could generate heat.