KOMPAS.com - Sea believed to exist on Europa, a moon around Jupiter. Similarly, astronomers reported on Wednesday a press conference at NASA (11/16/2011).
Europa was known as one of the satellites of Jupiter's other large, ie, Io, Ganymede and Collisto. Europa is the satellite that is located closest to Jupiter.
Belief in the ocean on Europa based on the data findings of the Galileo spacecraft to explore the year 1995 - 2003, and examined the surface of Jupiter's satellites.
Based on the captured image, astronomers find bizarre structures called 'chaotic terrain'. To explain the formation of topographic it, astronomers study how the same topography formed on Earth.
Astronomers found that the topography was probably formed by the heat from melting the ice in Europa near the surface, causing the upper part cracked or collapsed.
The analysis proves that the layer of ice on the surface of Europa is as thick as 10 km. Meanwhile, at the bottom there is a deep salt water lake about 3 km.
The findings are welcomed by experts astrobiology. This suggests that Europa meets two important requirements to support life, namely water and energy.
As is known, the evolution of early Earth suggests the need for energy to support life, one form of lightning. Over the past 3.8 billion years later, Earth is still dependent on solar energy.
"One opinion among scientists is that if the surface layer of thick ice did not interact with the ocean beneath it," said Britney Schmidt, an expert in geophysics at the University of Texas, Austin, USA.
"Now we find that although the ice was thick, but the energy that can be mixed well. This can make the Europa and oceans can be habitable," added Britney told AFP on Wednesday.
The study, also published in the journal Nature this further adds to wawsan about satellites of gas giant planets. Satellites of Saturn, Enceladus, is also suspected to have an ocean.
Despite its water and energy, indirect Europa can be inhabited. There are other life conditions, such as organic matter, which is not necessarily exist. Astronomers will make further exploration targets.