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What we've observed so far is, where there's water, there's life. And where there's no water, there's either no life or life is dormant, though there may be exceptions.
Originally posted by beautyofperil
On another note, if vast amounts of water are out there, it opens doors for me to wonder such things as: Could something of the nature of all this water harbour life with in it? Could the same type of phenomenon happen with a large mass of solid material?
If Ganymede really is an ocean sandwich with ice above and ice below, how much more water world can you get? Sounds like it might be mostly water, though some of it not in the liquid state. These moons of Jupiter might be good places to look for life as NASA suggests.
Europa is a fascinating place with an ocean that might be only tens of kilometers below the surface and they communicate actively with the surface through eruptions, through icy convection -- blobs of warm ice moving up to the surface through cracking, the breaking of the ice.
So there could be signs on the surface of what's going on deep down below the surface.
So what we can do with a spacecraft in orbit around Europa is measure how Europa flexes, as it's stretched by Jupiter's gravity. That tells us something very specific about how stiff that ice shell is, and by how stiff it is, we can get a measure of its thickness.
Europa is a maybe rarer example of an ocean in contact with a rocky mantle. Ganymede actually might be a more common example of an ocean where it's an ocean sandwich; ice above and below. Callisto, a relatively dead world, has not the level of activity that Europa and Ganymede have, yet we think that Çallisto has an ocean beneath its surface.
It's not out of the question that if there are liquid water oceans down there and there's heat and there's energy, that there could possibly be life.