Astronomers from Brown University made a breakthrough scientific discovery, suggesting that our planet might be the only one in the Solar System to host life. After studying one of Jupiter’s moons, Europa, they discovered the presence of some tectonic plates beneath its layers of ice. This means that it might be possible for the moon to sustain life.
The tectonic movements beneath Europa’s crust might help possible life forms
It turns out Europa is hiding some tectonic plates beneath its crust. These plates appear to undergo subduction, meaning that they get close and push against one another. Whenever this happens, some energy is released, and it might be the necessary process to sustain life.
Some time ago, researchers spotted an icy ocean spread over the surface of Europa. However, since this subduction takes place, then it means that possible life forms can get all nutrients they need from the process. Apart from oxidants which were already abundant on the moon, the subduction produces everything else.
The subduction process provides the moon with plenty of nutrients
Researchers assumed that the icy layer on the surface of Europa expanded just like the tectonic ridges beneath the Earth oceans did. Whenever something expands its surface, there is some material that has to move. On our planet, this material ends up in the subduction zones and, due to the recent observations, it might happen the same on Europa.
Now, researchers say that some life forms might exist beneath the crust of Europa. More precisely, it would be possible for them to exist, but there isn’t enough proof of their presence there. This is a great discovery for the astronomic world, but scientists are not the only ones who got excited at the news.
For quite a long time, conspiracy theorists issued all sorts of hypotheses, claiming that Europa was hosting some alien life forms. Hearing this piece of news might make them think that their old predictions have finally proven true. The scientific study can be found in the Journal of Geophysical Research.
Image Source: NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory