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How to reach Europa's ocean, private Moon missions team up, and Pluto's iron heart...

28 Oct 2015, 11:05 UTC
How to reach Europa's ocean, private Moon missions team up, and Pluto's iron heart...
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If you've enjoyed this please share it on facebook, twitter, or whatever your favourite social media is. Europa's ocean may reach its surface after all... A study from CalTech, using the Keck telescope and an instrument called OSIRIS that can identify mineral on other worlds, may have turned up evidence that water from the ocean of Jupiter's moon Europa may leak onto it's surface. This is an encouraging finding for astrobiologists, who have wanted to be able to study material from that ocean's depths for a long time. The major problem with doing so is that Europa's ocean is covered in ice, maybe tens of km thick. However the CalTech study presents evidence that strange looking parts of the ice sheet called 'chaos terrain' may occasionally see water welling up from the surface, making it possible for a surface lander to sample water/ice from the ocean. This follows a possible sighting by the Hubble space telescope of a water geyser on Europa, back in late 2013. Above: The chaos terrain of Europa, where water from the ocean may be breaking through the ice. Courtesy of NASA/JPLPrivate Moonshot teams team up The Google Lunar X-prize is a race between private firms to ...

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