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17 April 2014 12:48 pm ,
Vol. 344 ,
Officials last week revealed that the U.S. contribution to ITER could cost $3.9 billion by 2034—roughly four times the...
An experimental hepatitis B drug that looked safe in animal trials tragically killed five of 15 patients in 1993. Now,...
Using the two high-quality genomes that exist for Neandertals and Denisovans, researchers find clues to gene activity...
A new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes that humanity has done little to slow...
Astronomers have discovered an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of a red dwarf—a star cooler than the sun—500...
Three years ago, Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University proposed that a warming Arctic was altering the behavior of the...
- 17 April 2014 12:48 pm , Vol. 344 , #6181
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ScienceShot: Icy Europa Looking More Inviting
16 November 2011 1:05 pm
Scientists analyzing decades-old images with new eyes are seeing signs that Jupiter's radiation-blasted moon Europa may harbor giant under-ice "lakes" that could sustain life. Europa doesn't lack for the prime ingredient for life: liquid water. The moon has a global ocean hundreds of kilometers deep that is covered by a layer of ice perhaps 10 or 20 kilometers thick. But a team of glaciologists and planetary scientists report online today in Nature that—judging by the way erupting volcanoes on Earth disrupt their ice caps—huge pools of water must lie as little as 3 kilometers beneath the surface. On Europa, rather than a volcano, a rising plume of warmer but still solid ice would drive ice melting a few kilometers beneath the surface. And then a briny slush of ice would rise from the resulting lake and disrupt the surface to form Europa's long-known chaotic terrains of jumbled ice blocks. Direct confirmation of giant Europan lakes each holding the combined volume of North America's Great Lakes must await radar probing by a multibillion-dollar spacecraft that is still stuck on planetary scientists' wish list.
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