Europa’s seafloor may be impenetrable and inhospitable to life

SEI 195716057

Europa has an underground ocean, but it might not be as hospitable for life as Earth’s seas are

NASA/JPL-Caltech/SETI Institute

Jupiter’s icy moon Europa may not be as ripe for life as previously thought. Its underground ocean has long made it one of the most promising candidates in our solar system to host life, but theoretical studies of its seafloor are putting a damper on its promise.

On Earth, much of the life in the oceans is supported by hydrothermal activity at the seafloor, where water interacts with rock. This activity…

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