Europa’s Ocean Patterns

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 7,639
    New research from a collaboration of scientists reveals that the moon Europa’s subsurface ocean could be shaping the ice sheet and could possibly support life.

    Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin’s Institute for Geophysics along with scientist from the Georgia Institute of Technology and the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research reveal that Jupiter’s moon Europa’s subsurface ocean could have deep currents and circulation patterns.  This could mean life because currents and patterns have heat and energy transfers.  These same patterns are also shaping Europa’s iconic ice sheet.  Researchers now believe this active ocean is behind the chaos terrains concentrated in Europa’s equatorial region forming convection in that moon’s shell.   ESA’s Jupiter Icy moons Explorer mission, or JUICE, hopes to learn more about this and the possibility of life on Europa.