Europa and Other Icy Satellites as Possible Abodes of Life

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D.A. Rothery (2001), JBIS, 54, 153-158

Refcode: 2001.54.153
Keywords: Europa, life, hot springs, habitable zone

Life on Earth exists, and may well have begun, at hot springs on the deep ocean floor. This life is supported by chemical energy rather than sunlight. It is not unreasonable to expect life to have begun elsewhere in the solar system at hot springs at the rock-ice interface on large tidally-heated bodies such as the satellites of the outer planets. Of all the possible candidate worlds, Europa is the likeliest to harbour life today, because there is abundant morphological evidence that its surface ice is thin and forms a cap over a fluid (probably liquid) zone.

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