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Published on December 12th, 2013 | by No Artificial

Water Vapor Detected on Jupiter’s Moon

NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has detected water vapor above the icy south polar region of Jupiter’s moon Europa – considered one of the best places to find alien life in the solar system.

A new research published in the journal Science Express has unveiled that there is a water vapor in the atmosphere of Jupiter‘s moon Europa. The vapor was detected by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope over the moon’s south pole.

Researchers believe the discovered water vapor is generated by erupting water plumes on the surface.

The discovery raises hopes that Europa’s underground ocean can be accessed from its surface.

“By far the simplest explanation for this water vapor is that it erupted from plumes on the surface of Europa,” explained lead author Lorenz Roth of Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio. “If those plumes are connected with the subsurface water ocean we are confident exists under Europa’s crust, then this means that future investigations can directly investigate the chemical makeup of Europa’s potentially habitable environment without drilling through layers of ice. And that is tremendously exciting.”

If the findings are confirmed by more observations, this would make Europa the second moon in the solar system known to have water vapor plumes.

Such a phenomenon has already been observed on the surface of Saturn’s moon Enceladus.

Nasa’s planetary science chief Dr James Green told BBC News: “The presence of the water has led scientists to speculate that the Europa we know today harbours life.”

Science Daily

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