NASA’s Galileo spacecraft has presented the scientists for the possibility of water on Europa. The data was taken from the spacecraft obtained 21 years ago in the year 1997.
The data reveals that the icy exterior of the moon throws out plume like material into space. This revelation leads to the possibility of an ocean beneath the surface. It has given the scientists hope for the search of extraterrestrial life outside earth. The acting director of the NASA’s Planetary Science Division considers the data uncovered secrets which are extracted from the dead satellite.
He further concludes that if any other planetary body is capable of holding life outside earth, Europa has a big chance. The reason is the sheer size for which it is one of the four largest moons of the biggest planet in the solar system. The huge size of oceans beneath the surface is capable of holding a double capacity of water than that on earth.
The scientists also believe that the oceans must be kept warm due to the tidal activities caused due to the gravitational pull of Jupiter. With sufficient heat and the requisite chemical structures, there is a huge possibility of finding life just as it is found within the deeper cores of the earth. The similar patterns of plumes spewing in the space was also noticed in Saturn’s moon Enceladus. The plumes of ice and water vapour were captured by the Cassini spacecraft of NASA in the year 2005. The same phenomenon on Europa has also strengthened the belief in the possibility of life.
Till recently in 2012, Europa was thought to be devoid f any such activities. But the viewpoint was changed when the Hubble Space Telescope of NASA noticed molecules of water around the southern pole of the moon. Though the researchers are debating whether the data is genuine or not, if the data is revealed to be true, there might be icy geysers under the icy sheets of Europa.
A thorough analysis of the Galileo’s data reveals that while the spacecraft was passing by the surface of Europa, there was a drastic change in the magnetic field and the plasma density also rose up. One of the space physicists along with other study authors in NASA believes that it is proof that the spacecraft was passing over a plume. As of now, future missions are on the go for detailed exploration of the materials in Europa.