Icy Moon Of Jupiter Spews Water Plumes Into Space


“We’re looking for effects that are relatively small, and are pushing the spatial resolution of the telescope,” says astrophysicist Susana Deutsua of the Space Telescope Science Institute.

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The evidence comes from data collected by the now-defunct Galileo spacecraft. Although the data has been available since it was collected in 1997, it’s only now that an analysis confirms the existence of water plumes.

For more than two decades, scientists have been convinced Europa has a liquid water ocean sloshing around beneath its icy outer crust. In the past six years, two teams of researchers using the Hubble Space Telescope reported the possible existence of plumes. But as powerful as Hubble is, seeing something as small as a plume on a moon more than 380-million miles away is difficult.

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  • Date: 2018-05-17T21:21:28.000Z
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Quite a lot has been going on:

Icy Moon Of Jupiter Spews Water Plumes Into Space

This is an artist’s concept of a plume of water vapor thought to be ejected off of the frigid, icy surface of the Jovian moon Europa, located 500 million miles from the sun. NASA, ESA, and K. Retherford hide caption

Nonetheless, it made sense that Europa had plumes, since the Cassini spacecraft had definitely seen water plumes from Enceladus, an icy moon orbiting Saturn that’s similar to Europa.

“When we first saw those images, I think a lot of us in the community were very excited,” says planetary scientists Xianzhe Jia from the University of Michigan. Jia did his graduate work at the University of California Los Angeles where he focused on data collected by Galileo.

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NASA’s Hubble Spots Possible Water Plumes Erupting on Europa | NASA

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