The case for plate tectonics on Jupiter's ocean-harboring moon Europa keeps getting stronger. Scientists had already spotted geological signs that plates within the moon's ice shell may be diving beneath one another toward the moon's buried ocean. Now, a new study suggests that such "subduction" is indeed possible on Europa and shows how the phenomenon might be happening. The new results should intrigue astrobiologists and anyone else who hopes that Earth isn't the only inhabited world in the solar system. "If, indeed, there's life in that ocean, subduction offers a way to supply the nutrients it would need," study lead author Brandon Johnson, an assistant professor in the Department of Earth, Environmental and Planetary Sciences at Brown University in Rhode Island, said in a statement. More From Space.com Such nutrients include oxidants, electron-stripping substances that are common on Europa's surface and that could help provide an energy source for life, the researchers said.
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