Extraterrestrial life “probably” exists on Jupiter’s moon – and could be as clever as an octopus

SCIENTISTS have gone a step further to find out if extraterrestrial life really exists.

A place they have long believed life could be is one of them Jupiterare 79 moons.

Could life be lurking beneath a vast icy ocean on Jupiter's most famous moon?

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Could life be lurking beneath a vast icy ocean on Jupiter’s most famous moon?Photo credit: Getty

The moon in question is Europa – and there is a very good reason for that.

Europa has water and oxygen, the elements essential to life, as well as chemicals that could serve as nutrients.

But proving all of this has been difficult for experts — mostly because we’ve never actually tested samples and can only rely on observations.

In addition, Europa hosts ice-covered oceans thought to be about 15 miles thick, and scientists suspect life may well be beneath it.

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How the oxygen gets past the giant ice to breathe what lurks deep below was left to scientific theory, but now a team has put together a model to show how it might work.

They are convinced that salt water in the ice shell could transport oxygen.

In creating a physics-based computer simulation of the process, the oxygen essentially rides on salt water beneath the moon’s “chaososterrains,” landscapes made up of cracks, ridges, and blocks of ice.

Their results show that not only is this possible, but it could also mean that Europe’s ocean contains a similar amount of oxygen as the oceans here on Earth.

“Our research puts this process within the realm of possibility,” said Professor Marc Hesse of the University of Texas at Austin.

“It offers a solution to one of the outstanding habitability problems of the subsurface ocean of Europe.”

Nasa plans to launch an orbiter called Europa Clipper in 2024 that could build on their findings.

“It’s tempting to think of some kind of aerobic organism living just under the ice,” added co-author Dr. Added Steven Vance.

British professor Monica Grady previously said she believes we have a better chance of finding extraterrestrial life on Europa than on Mars, which tends to steal most of the focus.

And if so, it could be octopus-like.

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“I think we have a better chance of having slightly higher life forms on Europa, maybe similar in intelligence to an octopus,” she said.

The study was published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

Jupiter has an incredible 79 moons

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Jupiter has an incredible 79 moonsPhoto credit: Getty – Contributor
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https://www.thesun.ie/tech/8582972/jupiter-moon-europa-alien-life/ Extraterrestrial life “probably” exists on Jupiter’s moon – and could be as clever as an octopus

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