Icy Europa May Be First Alien World Found With Active Plate Tectonics
by Betsy Mason
Scientists may have spotted the first evidence for active plate tectonics on another world. Jupiter’s moon Europa is covered in an ice crust bearing scars that may reveal movement similar to that of Earth’s rocky plates.
Europa was already considered to be among the most scientifically intriguing bodies in the solar system and one of the most promising places to hunt for life in the solar system because of the liquid ocean that resides beneath its crust. If the latest findings turn out to be true, it could be another point in favor of the moon’s potential habitability by providing a way to get nutrients from the surface down into the ocean.
“What’s exciting is that this would be the only other place outside of Earth where a plate-tectonic-style system is occurring,” said planetary scientist Alyssa Rhoden, a NASA postdoctoral program fellow who studies Europa, but was not involved in the new research…