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Common Things Between Jupiter’s Moon Europa and Earth

The icy shell of Jupiter’s moon Europa may have plate tectonics similar to those on Earth which could have important implications for the possibility of life in the ocean thought to exist beneath the moon’s surface.The findings bolster earlier studies of Europa’s surface geology that found regions where the moon’s ice shell looks to be expanding in a way that is similar to the mid-ocean spreading ridges on Earth.On Earth, the answer is subduction zones. What we show is that under reasonable assumptions for conditions on Europa, subduction could be happening there as well, which is really exciting.Surface crust is enriched with oxidants and other chemical food for life. Subduction provides a means for that food to come into contact with the subsurface ocean scientists think probably exists under Europa’s ice.

 

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