Press Esc to close
Sunday 24 August 2014
News updated at 12:20 AM IST
Weather
Max: 30°C
Min : 20°C
In Bangalore
Cloudy sky

'Life seeding' compound abundant on Jupiter's moon Europa

Washington, Apr 5, 2013, (PTI)

NASA researchers have found that hydrogen peroxide - essential for life - is abundant across much of the surface of Jupiter's moon Europa.

The researchers argue that if the peroxide on the surface of Europa mixes into the ocean below, it could be an important energy supply for simple forms of life, if life were to exist there.

"Life as we know it needs liquid water, elements like carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus and sulphur, and it needs some form of chemical or light energy to get the business of life done," said Kevin Hand, the study's lead author, based at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.


"Europa has the liquid water and elements, and we think that compounds like peroxide might be an important part of the energy requirement. The availability of oxidants like peroxide on Earth was a critical part of the rise of complex, multicellular life," Hand said in a NASA statement.

The study published in the Astrophysical Journal Letters, and co-authored by Mike Brown of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, analysed data in the near-infrared range of light from Europa, using the Keck II Telescope in 2011.

Hydrogen peroxide was first detected on Europa by NASA's Galileo mission, which explored the Jupiter system from 1995 to 2003, but Galileo observations were of a limited region.

The new results show that peroxide is widespread across much of the surface of Europa, and the highest concentrations are reached in regions where Europa's ice is nearly pure water with very little sulphur contamination.

The peroxide is created by the intense radiation processing of Europa's surface ice that comes from the moon's location within Jupiter's strong magnetic field.

"The Galileo measurements gave us tantalising hints of what might be happening all over the surface of Europa, and we've now been able to quantify that with our Keck telescope observations," Brown said.

Scientists think hydrogen peroxide is an important factor for the habitability of the global liquid water ocean under Europa's icy crust because hydrogen peroxide decays to oxygen when mixed into liquid water.

"At Europa, abundant compounds like peroxide could help to satisfy the chemical energy requirement needed for life within the ocean, if the peroxide is mixed into the ocean," said Hand.

Go to Top

Photo Gallery
Bengaluru Archbishop Bernard Moras paying his last respect to Poet U R Ananthmurthy ...

Bengaluru Archbishop Bernard Moras paying his last respect to Poet U R Ananthmurthy ...

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan with her daughter Aaradhya arrives at Sanganer air port in Jaipur ...

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan with her daughter Aaradhya arrives at Sanganer air port in Jaipur ...

Arun Jaitley  during the commissioning of  Anti-Submarine Warfare Corvette INS Kamorta ...

Arun Jaitley during the commissioning of Anti-Submarine Warfare Corvette INS Kamorta ...

Bollywood actress Vaani Kapoor walks the ramp at Lakme Fashion Week ...

Bollywood actress Vaani Kapoor walks the ramp at Lakme Fashion Week ...

Actor Jackie Shroff distributes prizes for the Ganeshotsav mandals in Thane, Mumbai ...

Actor Jackie Shroff distributes prizes for the Ganeshotsav mandals in Thane, Mumbai ...

Wreckage of a car after an accident at Inderlok in New Delhi ...

Wreckage of a car after an accident at Inderlok in New Delhi ...

Jnanpith awardee UR Ananthamurthy's mortal remains being carried for last rites in Bengaluru ...

Jnanpith awardee UR Ananthamurthy's mortal remains being carried for last rites in Bengaluru ...

British Parliamentarians (green) during a friendly rugby match with Indian players in Mumbai ...

British Parliamentarians (green) during a friendly rugby match with Indian players in Mumbai ...

Former New Zealand Captain Stephen Fleming taking a selfie with female fans in Mumbai ...

Former New Zealand Captain Stephen Fleming taking a selfie with female fans in Mumbai ...

Tourists stand in line outside Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris ...

Tourists stand in line outside Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris ...

Copyright 2014, The Printers (Mysore) Private Ltd., 75, M.G Road, Post Box 5331, Bangalore - 560001
Tel: +91 (80) 25880000 Fax No. +91 (80) 25880523