Oct 18, 2009

Jupiter's Moon, Europa, Has Enough Oxygen to Support Life

From PhysOrg:

New research suggests that there is plenty of oxygen available in the subsurface ocean of Europa to support oxygen-based metabolic processes for life similar to that on Earth. In fact, there may be enough oxygen to support complex, animal-like organisms with greater oxygen demands than microorganisms.

In addition, the moon's ocean contains about twice the liquid water of all the Earth’s oceans combined. New research suggests that there may be plenty of oxygen available in that ocean to support life, a hundred times more oxygen than previously estimated.

This may turn out to be an important find indeed, since it is often thought that an atmosphere conducive to life would be much farther away from us than one of Jupiter's moons. We are only in the early stages of learning about the surface of Europa, but if you're interested in the moon and its potential for life, you can check out Richard Greenberg's Unmasking Europa: the Search for Life on Jupiter's Ocean Moon.

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