An Uninhabited Planet May Be Home To 8,000 Lifeforms
In a dramatic discovery that could help us to find life on other planets, scientists have discovered that there is an inhabitable world that may host more than 8,000 lifeforms. In the Jupiter system, they have discovered that an icy world has just a thin coating of clouds around it.
The planet may be one of the best candidates to host extraterrestrial life. Unlike Earth, the outer layer of this planet is made up of a water ice that is formed when ultraviolet light from the Sun breaks the water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen, called photodissociation. However, there is a thin layer of clouds that could shield the surface from the light of the Sun, and this could help in keeping it warm enough for the existence of the water ice.
The astronomers have ruled out the presence of a huge reservoir of water on the planet as clouds are not associated with water. This also means that it is less likely that life could be present in the underground.
It is suggested that this is an inhabitable planet that has a similar characteristics to Earth’s moon. It is a planet that is near the size of Mars and it orbits inside the orbit of Jupiter. This is the first time that scientists have discovered that a planet in the outer edge of the system has clouds. This means that this planet may have surface features that may support the existence of life forms.
“With the current high-resolution images from the Juno mission, we see a thin layer of water clouds evaporating from Jupiter’s largest moon, Ganymede, and the possibility of similar things happening to a much larger moon such as Ganymede could possibly support life,” said Jonny Martinez, a graduate student at UCLA.
Scientists have previously discovered that Ganymede possesses a surface water supply in the form of a reservoir at the south pole, which is a 30 km thick saltwater ocean, which is protected by a crust of water ice that is covering its interior. Ganymede’s reservoir of water is much larger than that of Europa, a moon of Jupiter. It is also more massive, because it contains heavier elements that may make it less water.
Scientists are certain that the giant icy moon of Jupiter has a subsurface ocean and this could be another inhabitable planet with a water supply. However, it needs additional research in order to determine the exact nature of the topography, and the composition of the ice.
Source : Newser
with ANI inputs