Science

Europa, Jupiter's Ocean Moon, May Shoot Plumes of Water Into Space

Europa, Jupiter's Ocean Moon, May Shoot Plumes of Water Into Space

Instead, scientists suspect that tidal heating caused by the gravitational pull of Jupiter could be pressurising the watery ocean beneath Europa's frozen surface and causing it to blow out through cracks in the surface. That's because water is thought to be one of the necessities for life, because, let's be real, finding life on other planets is pretty much the whole reason humans are so fascinated by space in the first place.

"The data were there, but we needed sophisticated modeling to make sense of the observation", Jia explained in the NASA news release. The most logical explanation is that Galileo flew directly through one of Europa's water vapor plumes on this flyby.

At the time of the 1997 flyby, around 124 miles (200 kilometers) over Europa's surface, the Galileo group didn't presume the shuttle may touch a crest ejecting from the frosty moon.

The Article from Best Evidence of water plume on Jupiter.

The data were put through new and advanced computer models to untangle a mystery - a brief, localized bend in the magnetic field - that had gone unexplained until now. No other flybys picked up evidence of these eruptions, though this particular one was the closest that the spacecraft came to Europa's surface.

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"If we can take samples directly from the interior of Europa, we can see more clearly if it has the ingredients for life", said Robert Pappalardo, a scientist at NASA's Europa Clipper mission, a mission that could be launched in June 2022.

The supposed Europa plume was discovered over a saline anomaly on the surface.

While the spacecraft isn't intended specifically to hunt for life, it's anticipated to supply a comprehensive evaluation of Europa to decide whether circumstances exist which prefer Earth-like life. "I made certain that the Europa orbiter and lander are the only missions it's illegal for NASA not to fly", says Rep. John Culberson (R-Texas), member of the House Appropriations Committee and former chair of the subcommittee with jurisdiction over NASA. This was the second time a plume has been observed in this exact spot, which had researchers excited that it could prove to be a feature on the surface. The study, published Monday in the journal Nature Astronomy, adds to the mounting evidence that Europa is spewing its contents into space. But scientists think the Jovian satellite harbors a huge amount of liquid water - perhaps twice as much water as Earth does, in fact - in a deep global ocean sloshing beneath the object's ice shell.

This literal "hotspot" where the plumes happen shows the warmest temperatures on the planet that is otherwise minus 279 degrees Fahrenheit.

Back in 2014, the Hubble Space Telescope captured something astonishing on Europa, one of Jupiter's biggest moons: a massive geyser-like plume that appeared to spurt from the moon's icy crust. This would let the scientists search molecules, which could be capable of supporting the formation of life there. Computer simulations created by Xianzhe Jia, a space scientist at the University of MI, showed that a 120-mile-high geyser erupting from a relatively warm patch on Europa would create precisely the same readings. The finding also bolsters hypotheses that posit parts of Europa's crust are far thinner and more fractured than previously believed-conditions that may allow life-sustaining energy as well as exploratory robots easier entry into the moon's lightless abyss. "Observations of plumes may tell us a lot about whether or not Europa's ocean has the ingredients suitable for life".