Layered oceans suspected on Jupiter moon
Updated: 2014-05-07 09:10
By Will Dunham in Washington (China Daily)
As club sandwiches go, this undoubtedly is the biggest one in the solar system.
Scientists said on Friday that Jupiter's moon Ganymede may possess ice and liquid oceans stacked up in several layers much like the popular multilayered sandwich.
They added that this arrangement may raise the chances that this distant icy world harbors life.
NASA's Galileo spacecraft flew by Ganymede in the 1990s and confirmed the presence of an interior ocean, also finding evidence for salty water perhaps from the salt known as magnesium sulfate.
Ganymede, with a diameter of about 5,300 kilometers, is the largest moon in the solar system and is bigger than the planet Mercury.
A team of scientists performed computer modeling of Ganymede's ocean, taking into account for the first time how salt increases the density of liquids under the type of extreme conditions present inside Ganymede.
Their work followed experiments in the laboratory that simulated such salty seas.
While earlier research suggested a routine "sandwich" arrangement in which there is ice at the surface, then a layer of liquid water and another layer of ice on the bottom, this new study indicated there might be more layers than that.