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More Evidence for Plumes of Water on Jupiter’s Icy Moon Europa

12 May 2020, 17:11 UTC
More Evidence for Plumes of Water on Jupiter’s Icy Moon Europa
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

An extended-color view of Europa made from images taken by NASA’s Galileo spacecraft in 1995 and 1998. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SETI Institute
All those worlds may be ours except Europa but that doesn’t make the ice-covered moon of Jupiter any less intriguing. Beneath Europa’s crisscrossed crust lies a tantalizing ocean somewhere in the neighborhood of 100 kilometers deep—which adds up to more liquid water than on the entire surface of the Earth. Liquid water plus a heat source(s) to keep it so plus the organic compounds necessary for life…well, you know where the thought process naturally goes from there.
And, like Saturn’s much smaller but similarly ice-covered moon Enceladus, Europa could have geysers spraying its internal water out into space. The existence of such plumes has been hypothesized and hinted at by various studies, most recently by the Hubble Space Telescope, but not yet directly observed in action (like Cassini did with Enceladus) nor confirmed to be from fissures connected to its global subsurface ocean (as opposed to being from surface material.) But researchers keep looking for clues about what’s inside Europa, and now a team of scientists has used data from NASA’s Galileo mission to collect further evidence that Europa ...

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