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Europa's ocean ascending to surface: NASA

Press Trust of India  |  Washington 

Deformation in the surface of Jupiter's moon could transport subsurface ocean to the icy body's surface, a study by NASA scientists has found.

Scientists at (JPL) in the US focused on linear features called "bands" and "groove lanes" found on Jupiter's and

They have used the same numerical model to solve mysteries about motion in Earth's crust.

The scientists created an - a two-dimensional of a possible cross-section of a band running through Europa's ice shell.

Bands on and are typically tens of miles wide and hundreds of miles long.

As the runs forward, the ice shell is deformed by gravitational interactions with The cold, brittle ice at the surface gets pulled apart. At the same time, faults in the upper ice form, heal, and re-form, NASA said.

The churning material that quickly fills the bottom half of the view is a collection of tiny white dots representing bits of Europa's ocean that have been frozen into the bottom of Europa's ice shell.

The scientists describe it as "fossil" ocean material because the bits of ocean trapped in Europa's ice shell spend many hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of years being carried to the surface.

"In other words, by the time the ocean material reaches Europa's surface where it can be analysed by a passing spacecraft, it no longer serves as a sample of Europa's ocean as it is in the present, " NASA. said in a statement

"Instead, the spacecraft would actually be studying Europa's ocean as it was a million or more years ago. Hence, it is fossil ocean material," it said.

NASA's spacecraft is intended to launch in the early 2020s. The spacecraft will then orbit and become the first spacecraft to study Europa exclusively, including the composition of the moon's surface material.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, July 09 2018. 18:05 IST