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It turned out where alien life is hiding on the satellites of Jupiter and Saturn

New modeling has shown that low-temperature hydrothermal vents could exist at the bottom of the underground oceans on Jupiter’s moon Europa and Saturn’s moon Enceladus for a very long time. They could warm the oceans and give rise to alien life.

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On Earth, hydrothermal vents are both a source of energy and heat and one of the possible places for the origin of life. The study was published in the journal Geophysical Research: Planets, reports Space.

Although there are both high-temperature and low-temperature hydrothermal vents in the Earth’s oceans, a much larger volume of water passes through the latter. High-temperature hydrothermal vents rely on volcanic activity.

Saturn’s moon Enceladus

And they can pump energy and heat from the Earth’s hot core. But the icy moons of Jupiter and Saturn do not have hot cores. So scientists created simulations to find out how common low-temperature vents are on Europa and Enceladus.

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Given the lack of data on the oceans on these satellites, which lie beneath the icy surface, the scientists based their modeling on the water circulation system in the northwest Pacific Ocean. There, cool seawater sinks and flows into the rock at the bottom through extinct volcanic cavities called seamounts.

The water passes through the rock, heats up, and rises through another seamount. According to scientists, the water comes out at a higher temperature and has a completely different chemical composition.

Jupiter’s moon Europa

By applying this water circulation model to Europa and Enceladus, scientists modified properties such as gravity, temperature, seafloor composition, and water circulation depth to better match the potential conditions in the oceans of these moons.

Modeling has shown that low-temperature hydrothermal vents can exist at the bottom of underground oceans under a wide range of conditions.

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At the same time, lower gravity ensures greater heating of the water coming out of the sources. Scientists believe that conditions on the satellites allow these sources to exist for billions of years. And this is enough for alien life to arise there.

Therefore, theoretically, life could exist in hydrothermal vents on Europa and Enceladus. Now all that remains is to explore their oceans and discover it, if it really is there.

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Jake Carter

Jake Carter is a researcher and a prolific writer who has been fascinated by science and the unexplained since childhood. He is always eager to share his findings and insights with the readers of anomalien.com, a website he created in 2013.