Carbon Dioxide at Europa (Webb Space Telescope)

Discussion in 'Astronomy, Exobiology, & Cosmology' started by Tiassa, Sep 21, 2023.

  1. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Valued Senior Member

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    CO₂ at Europa

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    That's the news from NASA Goddard↱:

    Jupiter's moon Europa is one of a handful of worlds in our solar system that could potentially harbor conditions suitable for life. Previous research has shown that beneath its water-ice crust lies a salty ocean of liquid water with a rocky seafloor. However, planetary scientists had not confirmed if that ocean contained the chemicals needed for life, particularly carbon.

    Astronomers using data from NASA's James Webb Space Telescope have identified carbon dioxide in a specific region on the icy surface of Europa. Analysis indicates that this carbon likely originated in the subsurface ocean and was not delivered by meteorites or other external sources. Moreover, it was deposited on a geologically recent timescale. This discovery has important implications for the potential habitability of Europa's ocean.

    Scientists are looking at a location called Tara Regio, where Hubble had previously observed ocean salt. Two separate teams used near-infrared data allowing spectral resolution at two-hundred miles per pixel.

    From the armchair, there is a moment of wondering if that rough resolution means the signature is just that obvious. From the scientific perspective, "These observations only took a few minutes of the observatory's time," according to the lead scientist on Cycle 1 Guaranteed Time Observations. "Even with this short period of time," Heidi Hammel explained, "we were able to do really big science."

    So, yeah, apparently the signature is kind of obvious. There is a lot going on at Europa.
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    Notes:

    NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. "NASA's Webb Finds Carbon Source on Surface of Jupiter's Moon Europa". 21 September 2023. NASA.gov. 21 September 2023. https://bit.ly/3LwJxkA
     
    DaveC426913 likes this.
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  3. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    It's important to know the scale of concentration.

    For example:
    blue = 10 ppb; white = 11 ppb
    would be a very different scenario from
    blue = 10 ppb; white = 1000 ppb
    (ppb = parts per billion)

    Does it happen to mention that?
     
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  5. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Valued Senior Member

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    The papers are publishing today; if online access is restricted, we can go fish at arXiv, later.
     
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