You’ve got to love a good ocean world. Europa, one of the largest of Jupiter’s 67 or more moons, is thought to have an ocean sloshing around beneath its icy crust — and scientists have high hopes that it might harbor (or at least be a suitable environment for) some sort of life. If Europa’s rocky core interacts with its ocean in the right way to produce life-giving chemicals, the place could be teeming with strange alien microbes, or even something a little more complex.
A new study in the journal Geophysical Research Letters — based on models made back on Earth — supports this hypothesis. NASA scientists modeled how much hydrogen and oxygen the moon could realistically produce on its own without volcanic activity and found that the ratio between the two elements was roughly the same as it is on Earth.