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James Webb discovered the presence of life-usable carbon in the vicinity of Jupiter’s moon Europa

James Webb discovered the presence of life-usable carbon in the vicinity of Jupiter’s moon Europa

It was expected to be explored Solar systemSolar system It has received a second wind since the commissioning of the James Webb Telescope, making it possible to go farther than the telescope HubbleHubble. We see a new example with the publication of two articles in science Who announced that the James Webb Space Telescope appears capable of exploring the inner mysteries of Europa’s global ocean, Earth’s icy moon, indirectly. JupiterJupiter.

To better understand what the issues are, it is useful to remember that in the early 1980s, in his famous novel 2010: Odyssey 2Arthur Clarke – the famous inventor of the concept of geostationary satellites – took seriously the idea that life forms could exist in the underground ocean. Ice floeIce floe From Europe.

As Futura has explained in previous articles, Clark was only partially reworking his novel Sixth hard The results we just got after successful missions Voyager 1Voyager 1 And 2 during their visit to Jupiter’s moons, namely the discovery of Io’s volcano and the first close-up images of the European ice shelf.

Inspired by those forms of life in their surroundings Hydrothermal sourcesHydrothermal sources In the Abyss During the 1970s, some exobiologists and planetary scientists speculated that similar organisms might exist in the European Ocean, with… VolcanoesVolcanoes Origin, as in IoIothe follower Tidal forcesTidal forces From the Jupiter system, it heats Europa’s rocky interior by kneading it. Maybe this is how life was born on Earth, within walls ChimneysChimneys Similar hydrothermal vents throughHadianHadian Or at the beginningArchianArchian.

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These ideas have gained more and more weight over the years, to the point that missions to Europe, directly or indirectly, have been identified and are underway, namely the Juice and especially the Europe Clipper.

Europe and its global environs are promising for exobiology. For a fairly accurate French translation, click on the white rectangle at the bottom right. The English translation should appear next. Then click on the nut to the right of the rectangle, then on “Translations” and finally on “Translate automatically.” Select “French”. © NASA

What is the composition of the European Ocean?

To advance exobiology, we must elucidate the composition of the European ocean. We have every reason to think it’s salty and hope to discover it MoleculesMolecules Biological, ideal biosignatures, in ice cream and GeysersGeysers On the moon.

The two independent studies published today are not yet revolutionary, but observations from the James Webb Space Telescope seem to strongly suggest today that Earth’s ice Carbon DioxideCarbon Dioxide (Co2), was discovered for a while already on European ice floes, from which it was called Dry iceDry ice On Earth, actually comes fromBroadcastBroadcast to GasGas Carbon dioxide from inland Europe.

To date, we have not been able to convincingly rule out the possibility of dry ice formation from carbon dioxide input2 After meteorite impacts or were produced at the surface through interactions with flows ThemeTheme And based on Cosmic raysCosmic rays from MagnetosphereMagnetosphere Jupiter.

in Article one,l’astronomerastronomer And the world of planets Samantha Trumbo From the famous Cornell University, where Carl Sagan and Richard Feynman taught, they collaborated with the lesser-known astronomer Mike Brown From the California Institute of Technology, in the declassified original PlutoPluto And the hypothesis of the existence of Planet 9 with Konstantin Batygin.

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The last dry ice in Tara Reggio

The researchers focused on data from the James Webb Space Telescope, which shows an abundance of dry ice Tara Reggio – An area of ​​about 1,800 square kilometers exposes… GeologistsGeologists On Earth chaos and exogeologists might call chaotic terrain (or chaotic terrain), meaning more accurately in this case, as on Mars, a planetary surface where areas of hills, cracks and plains are confused and mixed with each other. In the case of Europe, there is a famous example Conmara chaos.

Tara Reggio He is necessarily young, otherwise time would have “smoothed and regularized” his surface. If this is indeed the case, we conclude that the accumulation of dry ice is recent and could therefore only have been formed by the massive arrival of carbon dioxide from the European Ocean to the surface.

However, it is unclear whether the primary carbon source is biotic or not Not vitalNot vital In the European Ocean, it could be organic matter or carbonates on the surface from this ocean that releases carbon dioxide2 Also under the influence of cosmic rays but it is still too early to know. In addition, we know very well on Earth that volcanic activity releases carbon dioxide. What is true in any case is that it now appears to be well established that there is carbon that can be used by organisms in the European ocean.

A series of general courses on exobiology begins with this video. Are we alone in the universe? You’ve probably already asked yourself this question… We can find the answers in movies, literature or science fiction comics, and our imaginations are inhabited by extraterrestrial creatures! But what does science say about this? AstrobioEducation invites you to discover exobiology, an interdisciplinary science that aims to study the origin and research of life elsewhere in the universe. Through an educational journey divided into 12 stages, researchers from various disciplines will help you understand how science works to answer and investigate fascinating questions about the origins of life somewhere other than Earth. © French Exobiology Society

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