Europa, one of the moons of Jupiter, the largest planet in our solar system, contains carbon, which is essential for life.
While making this discovery, the scientists said that with the help of the James Webb telescope, there was an indication of the presence of carbon dioxide on the ice on the surface of this moon of Jupiter.
A study by the Southwest Research Institute found that a salty ocean hidden 10 miles below the surface of Europa’s ice is a possible cause of the presence of carbon dioxide.
Although the results do not answer the question of whether or not there is any life there, the discovery reinforces the idea that Europa could be the prime location for the search for life beyond Earth.
“This is a huge breakthrough and we are very excited about it,” the researchers said.
“We don’t know yet whether life exists in Europa’s oceans, but our discovery strengthens the evidence that life may exist there,” he said.
At 2,000 miles wide, Europa is slightly smaller than Earth’s moon, while the surface temperature reaches minus 140 degrees Celsius and Jupiter’s radiation rays continue to hit it.
But the moon’s ocean is several miles below the surface, making it a prime location for life, and there has been evidence of the presence of key ingredients for life, such as carbon.
Previous research reports had confirmed the presence of carbon dioxide in Europa’s surface ice, but it was not clear whether the gas arrived from the ocean or was the result of an impacting meteorite.
The new study used the James Webb Telescope’s near-infrared camera to map carbon dioxide on Europa’s surface.
The results showed that the Tara Regio region of Europa is the most important center of carbon dioxide, where the cracks and slopes are located.
The discovery of carbon dioxide in Europa’s salt-rich regions suggests that the gas is getting there from the subsurface ocean and not from an external source such as a meteorite impact, the researchers said.
According to scientists, 6 elements are considered to be the cause of life on earth, which include carbon dioxide, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, phosphorus and sulphur.
Carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and sulfur have been confirmed to exist in Europa so far.
The results of this research were published in the journal Science.