Water Plume on Jupiter’s Moon Europa


Here is exciting news, especially for the astrobiologists! Recent evidence is being considered the best proof till date for availability of water on Europa – the life-supporting moon of the greatest planet Jupiter. 

The alluring signs of the presence of water plume on Jupiter were located by the Hubble Space Telescope of National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). However, the Hubble Telescope has its limits and sensitivity. The current proof got even stronger with a newly analyzed data provided by Galileo spacecraft. This data was based on the findings of Galileo. Galileo is an unmanned spacecraft of NASA which orbited around Jupiter to study about its planet and associated moons. The Galileo spacecraft revolved around Jupiter from the year 1995 to 2003. It also identified possibly a water plume while flying nearby the Europa moon in the year 1997. 

The lead author of the recent study, Xianzhe Jia said that the recently analyzed data of Galileo is a definite proof indicating that there exists a water plume on Jupiter. Mr. Xianzhe Jia is an associate professor at the Climate and Space Sciences and Engineering Department (University of Michigan). If the recent evidence turns out to be real, a great way will be paved to study in depth about the Europa moon. In such a case of the existence of water plume on Europa, the spacecraft will be able to take samples from the Europa ocean without actually touching the Europa moon surface. NASA is continually making efforts for this objective. 

It is worth mentioning that Europa is a bit smaller in size when compared with Earth. As per scientists, the Europa moon has an enormous quantity of liquid water. This quantity is expected to be double the amount of water available on Earth. The scientists involved with the study of Jupiter say that the moon has got liquid water under its ice coating. It is also noted that the water ocean is possibly in contact with the rocky center of Europa which indicates that there might be some interesting chemical reactions going over there. The same condition has also compelled many scientists to think that Europa might be one of the possible options for the existence of alien life. In the year 2012, the Hubble telescope had recognized signs of plume near the South pole of the Europa moon. The telescope did more similar observations in 2014 and 2016 which indicated the presence of plumes near the equator of Europa moon.