Exoplanets News Origin Of Life

Underground ocean pretty much confirmed on Jupiter moon

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Long suspected:

SA’s Hubble Space Telescope has the best evidence yet for an underground saltwater ocean on Ganymede, Jupiter’s largest moon. The subterranean ocean is thought to have more water than all the water on Earth’s surface.

Identifying liquid water is crucial in the search for habitable worlds beyond Earth and for the search for life, as we know it.

“This discovery marks a significant milestone, highlighting what only Hubble can accomplish,” said John Grunsfeld, assistant administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters, Washington, D.C. “In its 25 years in orbit, Hubble has made many scientific discoveries in our own solar system. A deep ocean under the icy crust of Ganymede opens up further exciting possibilities for life beyond Earth.”

Okay, but here is a question: What if it turns out that Ganymede’s water is sterile?

Does that count in discussions about life on exoplanets? Why or why not?

See also: Don’t let Mars fool you. Those exoplanets teem with life!

One Reply to “Underground ocean pretty much confirmed on Jupiter moon

  1. 1
    rhampton7 says:

    Adding Ganymede to Earth, Enceladus, and Europa as solar bodies with liquid water means that its far more common than we ever realized, and that probably holds true throughout the galaxy.

    Ganymede, however, does not show signs of having a robust energy source, unlike Enceladus with its hydrothermal vents:

    The composition and the limited size range (2 to 8 nanometres in radius) of stream particles indicate ongoing high-temperature (>90 °C) hydrothermal reactions associated with global-scale geothermal activity that quickly transports hydrothermal products from the ocean floor at a depth of at least 40 kilometres up to the plume of Enceladus.

    There’s some interesting chemistry happening in the oceans of Enceladus, and that is worth investigating.

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