NASA discovers plumes of water coming out from Jupiter’s moon Europa

 

Large water plumes are gushing out of Jupiter’s moon (Europa), have been discovered. It might be the ideal place in the solar system where once can find aliens. The discovery finds its origins in data that has been present since past. It has resulted in scientists thinking that Europa is one of the primary candidates in the hunt for aliens.

Europa has remained one of the topmost possible candidates to contain extraterrestrial life in this solar system. However, reaching it is not possible as it has been concluded that the Europa is covered in a thick ice crust. It would stand as a barrier in efforts to reach the underlying oceans.

After that, the discovery will make investigations much easier as using the plumes of water; the researchers will get an insight of the “taste” of water on Europa. This will create a curiosity in people as to what could we find there. The water plume was discovered when scientists understood that there is a bend in the moon’s magnetic field. NASA’s Galileo spacecraft recorded this data. It seems that this was caused due to a geyser which gushed through the moon’s frozen crust, from an ocean deep below the surface. It surfaced on Monday when researchers examined Galileo’s data again. Galileo passed above the surface of Europa at around a distance of 200 kilometers.

According to Elizabeth Turtle, who is a planetary scientist at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, scientists are aware that Europa has many components which will enable life. It has material like carbon along with energy and water, which can make the moon appropriate for habitation. One good thing regarding the detection is that there are possible ways for the substances beneath the ice cover to come out. It would be the most habitable part of the moon as it is warm and protected from radiation by the outside crust. As a result, the substances can be sampled.

The research is mainly headed by Xianzhe Jia, a space physicist at the University of Michigan. The discovery supports previous evidence of finding plumes in Europa. Its ocean contains double the water present in that of Earth’s. In 2012, NASA’s Hubble space telescope gathered UV data, suggestive of a plume.

NASA can now get a better look during its Europa Clipper mission which is slated to be launched in June 2022. It will provide opportunities to gather proof of microbial life in Europa’s oceans.