Europa, one of Jupiter's inner moons, has elements astrobiologists look for when hunting extraterrestrial life, including carbon-containing organic compounds. Although Europa is covered by a sheet of ice 6.2 miles (10 kilometers) thick, its ocean may be liquid and salty and display tidal forces. It's possible that there is volcanic activity, and organic compounds may have formed from geothermal energy. Scientists are developing and testing an unmanned undersea vehicle called DEPTHX (Deep Phreatic Thermal Explorer) with the goal of searching for microbial life on Europa. The unit's mapping and collecting abilities have been tested in Mexican freshwater sinkholes more than 1,000 feet (319 meters) deep.
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