Scientists have long believed that Jupiter’s small frozen “moon”, Europa, is covered by a frozen ocean. A few years ago, a research, however, suggests that there is also liquid water on Jupiter’s satellite Europa, which fanned on the surface, fueling hopes that this solar system object could support a form life. A fresh study made by a crew of Brazilian scientists shows that the life on Jupiter’s satellite Europa could be sustained with nuclear energy.
This Brazilian study can help a future NASA mission on Europa
Also, Europa will be studied by a future NASA mission, named, suggestively, Europa Clipper. The upcoming mission aims to investigate the Europa’s life sustainability.
However, the new discoveries made by the scientists at the University of Sao Paulo, in Brazil, may be very helpful for NASA’s future mission on Jupiter’s satellite Europa which is the 6th biggest natural satellite in our solar system.
“We studied the possible effects of a biologically usable energy source on Europa based on information obtained from an analogous environment on Earth,” stated Douglas Galante, an author of the new study.
Europa may present life-forms that could be similar to some mysterious ones found on Earth
The scientists studied the Candidatus Desulforudis bacteria species that can live at up to 3 kilometers in the underground. This bacterium has been found for the first time in a gold mine in South Africa.
The Candidatus Desulforudis bacteria species can live without daylight and oxygen. To sustain itself, this bacteria species adapted to the high-temperature circumstances and “learned” to get the needed life-energy through a radioactive process that requires water molecules break down in the presence of ionizing radiation.
The circumstances on the Europa satellite are similar to those of the South African gold mine.
The underground water on Europa is hot because Europa is revolving around Jupiter on an elliptical orbit which causes cyclical shifts in the moon’s geometry. All those shifts cause Europa to heat up at the interior.
Thus, it won’t be a surprise for scientists if the life on Jupiter’s satellite Europa could be sustained with nuclear energy.