NASA satellite photos have revealed evidence of an impact crater on one of the moons of Jupiter known as Europa that scientists think might have been the source of components for life to start on the distant moon.
New analysis of old NASA satellite photos have revealed evidence of an impact crater surrounded by minerals on one of the moons of Jupiter known as Europa. Scientists think this impact might have delivered the compounds needed for life to start on the distant moon.
Jim Shirley, a research scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California is quoted as saying: “Organic materials, which are important building blocks for life, are often found in comets and primitive asteroids. Finding the rocky residues of this comet crash on Europa's surface may open up a new chapter in the story of the search for life on Europa.”
Previous studies have shown that the most promising location for traces of extraterrestrial life might be found on Europa because of the possible existence of water on the moon.
The discovery of the impact crater is based on images of Europa taken by NASA satellites around 15 years ago, but new technology has allowed scientists to look closer, and experts have found what they believe to be traces of a mineral called phyllosilicates, which are claylike minerals that form where water is present.