For a while, scientists have been curious about the planets and moons in our solar system. But now, thanks to NASA’s James Webb Telescope they’re finding out some hidden secrets. This super-strong space telescope is making headlines again because it found carbon dioxide on Europa, a moon of Jupiter. Europa is one of the few places in our solar system where life might be possible.
Scientists had already found out that under Europa’s icy surface, there’s a salty ocean with water and rocks at the bottom. But they weren’t sure if this ocean had the right stuff for life, like carbon.
Now, this fresh study suggests that the carbon dioxide probably came from Europa’s own underground ocean, not from things like meteors or stuff from outside. What’s more, it got there not too long ago in terms of Europa’s history. This finding is a big deal because it tells us that Europa’s ocean might be a good place for life to live.
“Life on Earth thrives on a wide variety of chemicals, and the more divers the better. We’re all about carbon-based life here. Figuring out the chemistry of Europa’s ocean will tell us if it’s a place where our kind of life could survive or if it’s too harsh. Geronimo Villanueva from NASA’s Goddard Space said in a statement.
The James Webb Telescope’s observations tell us that carbon dioxide is most plentiful in a place called Tara Regio. This is a relatively new area with a lot of changes happening on its surface, and it’s part of what scientists call “chaos terrain.”