Saturday, 20 October, 2018

Jupiter's Moon Europa Shoots Water Into Space, New Research Suggests

Jupiter's moon Europa harbors a saltwater ocean beneath an icy crust Jupiter's moon Europa harbors a saltwater ocean beneath an icy crust
Doris Mccormick | 15 May, 2018, 05:06

These changes, the scientists believe, are consistent with images of the moon taken by the Hubble space telescope thought to show water ejecting from Europa's surface. If enough evidence of water plumes is found, NASA (and other space agencies, we must assume) will investigate further, maybe someday bringing back samples.

"With the Hubble data in hand", Dr. Kivelson said, "we had an idea of how big a plume might be reasonable".

This is exciting news for astrobiologists: If the plume is indeed real, it could offer a way for a spacecraft to sample Europa's buried ocean of liquid water without even touching down on the moon. She's looking forward to NASA's next mission to the giant planet.

This ocean appears to be in contact with Europa's rocky core, making possible a variety of interesting and complex chemical reactions. The solar system's ocean worlds might be the most promising place to look.

Jupiter's icy moon Europa is slightly smaller than Earth's moon. So Jia, Kivelson and their colleagues ran the data through a sophisticated modelling program that compared the observations with what scientists might expect to see from a plume of the dimensions reported by Hubble.

When plumes of water spray out of Europa, the molecules are immediately battered by highly energetic particles, a process that smashes them into charged ions. For more, check NASA's news release.

Europa orbits Jupiter every 3.5 days and is tidally locked - just like Earth's Moon - so that the same side of Europa faces Jupiter at all times.

So scientists instead returned to Galileo, which on 16 December 1997 made its closest approach to Europa, flying only 400 kilometers above its surface.

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Therefore, she added, any change in the size of the United States forces in the South Korea should not be on the table at the summit.


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With my coaching staff, we will do everything we can to help the team reach success, including on the global scene. They have, however, achieved a domestic treble by winning the Ligue 1 title as well as the League and French Cups.


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Additionally they view USA drilling constrained by pressure organizations to work out capital area from the face of rising costs. Saudi Arabia said Wednesday that it could raise oil output to counteract the effect of new US sanctions on Iran.


The study shows that the spacecraft's instrument detected two critical phenomena in this area: a significant change in Europa's magnetic field and a surge of ionized gas hinting at a large increase in density of the moon's plasma. For example, in the 2014 and 2016 candidate detections, the possible plumes blocked some ultraviolet light emitted by Jupiter.

A view of Jupiter's moon Europa created from images taken by the Galileo spacecraft in the late 1990s.

Space scientists have just figured out that an unusual anomaly from over 20 years ago was the equivalent of a space probe being squirted in the face. Xianzhe Jia, a University of MI space scientist, and his colleagues published their findings on May 14 in Nature Astronomy.

If all goes according to plan, Clipper will make 40 to 45 flybys of Europa over the course of its mission, studying the moon's ice shell and subsurface ocean in an attempt to better understand Europa's potential to host life as we know it. Europa Clipper will also scout out locations for a future lander mission, which Congress has directed the space agency to develop as well.

"Observations of plumes may tell us a lot about whether or not Europa's ocean has the ingredients suitable for life". Both are planned to fly close to the moon, using more sensitive instruments such as high-resolution cameras, spectrometers and ice-penetrating radar that could study organic materials on the surface, the thickness of the ice shell and the salinity of the vast ocean beneath.

The results were in "satisfying agreement", Jia said. One of those times, in the year 1997, Galileo flew within 128 miles of Europa.

Such activity may be caused by different individual jets or geysers turning on and off over time, he added.

"To detect a plume for certain, we'll have to return to the Jupiter system, and NASA's Europa Clipper spacecraft, now in development, will do just that", Cynthia Phillips, a NASA researcher told Mashable.

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