Infographic comparing Europa and Earth.

In our solar system there is an ocean twice the size of all Earth's oceans combined. Europa. Water World. Is it Inhabited?

Earth
Diameter: 12,742 km
Average Ocean Depth: ~4 km
Volume: ~1.4 billion km3

  • Liquid Saltwater Surface Ocean
  • Earth's surface is 29% land, 71% liquid water
  • Polar Ice Cap
  • Regional Liquid Salt Water Ocean
  • Rocky Sea Floor

Europa
Diameter: 3,120 km
Average Ocean Depth: ~100 km
Volume: ~3 billion km3

  • Liquid Saltwater Sub-Surface Ocean
  • Europa's surface is covered in a global water ice crust/ Estimates range from 3 km - 30 km thick
  • Ice Crust
  • Global Liquid Saltwater Ocean
  • Rocky Sea Floor

So Why Does This Matter?

Because Earth's Oceans are teeming with life!

The Oceans are Home to:

  • 50-80% of all life on Earth
  • At least 224,000 named species
  • Plants, bacteria, fungi, reptiles, mammals, reefs, algae, fish, mollusks, and many more
  • Extremophiles, surviving from the freezing temperatures below arctic sea ice to the boiling temperatures near deep sea hydrothermal vents

On Earth, wherever we find water, we find life.

And Europa has twice the water of Earth, so ... Is There Life?

Credit

NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory-Caltech

ENLARGE