Nasa mentioned that the Hubble Space Telescope has detected something that could have been similar to vapor plumes erupting off Jupiter’s moon Europa. It is believed to be the best place in the solar system to withhold alien life.
These new findings increase the chances of sampling Europa’s ocean without the need to pierce through miles of ice.
Nasa’s Science Mission manager, Geoff Yoder, considers that Jupiter’s moon Europa is the most promising place in the solar system to withhold life. The plumes are believed to rise around 200 kilometers before falling back down onto Europa’s surface.
Although Europa’s global ocean is acknowledged to contain two times more water than the Earth’s ocean, it is covered by a layer of hard ice, and its thickness is still unknown.
William Sparks of the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in the United States lead the scientists. They witnessed the projections while viewing Europa just as the moon moved in front of Jupiter.
The team followed to see if Europa has a thin, widespread exosphere or atmosphere. By using similar techniques, a research organization led by Lorenz Roth of Southwest Investigation Institute in the US discovered that it was an extraordinary way to understand if there was water vapor discharging from Europa’s surface.
In 15 months of analysis, there were ten separate occurrences of Europa moving in front of Jupiter. On three of these occasions, the scientists observed what could be plumes erupting. Water vapor was also seen erupting from the south polar region of Europa. The vapor was thought to move further than 160 kilometers into space.
Hubble’s Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph (STIS) was utilized in both the experiments but their methods than lead to the same conclusion were entirely different.
However, all of the observation could also imply that the plumes could be extremely unsteady. It could mean that they sporadically erupt for periods and then ultimately die down. Although Spark’s research team detected the plumes, a week later, Roth’s team failed to identify any eruptions. If the data is confirmed, Jupiter’s Moon Europa could be the second moon in the solar system identified to hold these water vapor plumes.
Image source: Wikipedia