Small impacts shake the surface of Jupiter’s moon Europa


Madrid, 23 July. (European Press) –

Small craters affecting Jupiter’s moon Europa could finally offer scientistsاء A glimpse into the possibility of habitation beneath its frozen surface.

It is the conclusion of a study authored by Rebecca Ghent, principal scientist for the Planetary Science Institute (PSI).

Europe has a global ocean covered with a frozen surface covered in small impacts of tens of millions of years about 30 cm deep that have caused the ‘gardening effect’: Vertical mixing that occurs when impact craters remove material to the surface, by excavation, and downward, by burial.

Ghent, a co-author on the study, said biomolecules — substances produced by cells and organisms — detected by the gardening effect can be damaged by radiation when exposed. published in Nature Astronomy.

“The radiation on Europa’s surface is so intense that it can break down tiny biomolecules. Effect of horticultural cycles of possible biomolecules in the radiation zone. Therefore, this work provides some valuable new constraints on where we are looking if we hope to find evidence of life,” said Ghent. It is a statement.

“If we want to find evidence of pure, undisturbed, radioactive biomolecules in Europa’s ice, we have to dig further, about a foot deep, and deeper in some areas, Or find places where new material has recently been blown to the surface by impact craters Ghent said.

“This is the first time that the effects of horticulture have been considered when predicting where biomolecules will be located in Europe and the first time the effect of horticulture has been modeled. gardening effect To look at Europa’s unique icy surface and encounters in the outer solar system.”

A planned Europa Clipper mission for NASA could help scientists better understand the situation. “Work in this study could provide a guide for designing tools or tasks that search for biomolecules; it also provides a framework for future research using high-resolution images for upcoming missions, Which would help in obtaining more accurate estimates of landscape depth in different specific areasGhent said.

“The main parameters of this study are shock flow rates and crater formation. With better estimates of these parameters and higher resolution images resulting from upcoming missions, this will be possible Better anticipate the depths at which the landscape affected the shallow ice in certain areas.”

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