Data from a NASA planetary mission has provided scientists evidence of what appears to be a body of liquid water, equal in volume to the North American Great Lakes, beneath the icy surface of Jupiter’s moon, Europa.
Of all the geological mysteries of the solar system, perhaps none hold as much intrigue as the huge piles of jumbled icebergs strewn across the cracked and mottled surface of Europa.
”Europa has the best chance of having life there today,” said Britney Schmidt, who studies the moon at the University of Texas at Austin. Astrobiologists think so because NASA’s Galileo probe found strong evidence for a deep, briny ocean covering the entire moon deep under the icy surface.
Don Blankenship, a geophysicist and Europa specialist also at the University of Texas, said such lakes would provide channels for organic compounds on Europa’s surface to be drawn into the deep ocean. Without that material from the surface, the ocean could not contain the elements needed for life.