September 27, 2016 8:33:41 am
NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope have captured what could possibly be water vapour plumes erupting from the surface of Jupiter’s moon Europa. This finding adds weight to other Hubble observations that suggest the icy moon erupts with high altitude water vapor plumes.
Interestingly, the finding also increases the possibility that missions to Europa may be able to sample its ocean without the need to drill through kilometres of ice. Geoff Yoder, acting associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington, has opined that Europa’s ocean is considered to be one of the most promising places that could potentially harbour life in the solar system. “These plumes, if they do indeed exist, may provide another way to sample Europa’s subsurface,” added Yoder.
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— NASA (@NASA) September 27, 2016
The water vapour plumes are roughly estimated to rise about 200 kilometers, which is presumed to rain material back down onto Europa’s surface. According to NASA estimates, Europa reportedly has a huge ocean which contains twice as much water as Earth’s oceans. However, there’s an extremely cold and hard ice layer of unknown thickness that’s protecting it.
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