Jupiter’s moon could spew columns of water from its ice crust

According to the US space site, NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope and other instruments have found evidence of scattered plumes of water vapor rising perhaps 120 miles (200 km) above the frozen surface of Europe.

This water comes from the buried ocean, making it more likely that a spacecraft will be able to sample this potentially life-sustaining environment without even touching the moon.

Such sampling work could be done by NASA’s Europa Clipper probe, which is expected to be launched in mid-2020.

Clipper will orbit Jupiter and study Europe on dozens of short flights, discerning the ocean and ice crust, and exploring possible landing sites for a future lander, and those large visible plumes may have a smaller connection coming from a source just below it. surface.

Scientists led by Gregor Steinberg of Stanford University and Joanna Voigt of the University of Arizona analyzed the area of ​​Moon Europe’s Mannan Crater, which is 29 km wide and was created by the impact of tens of millions of years.

The heat from this effect undoubtedly melted a large chunk of the nearby ice, and the researchers designed a model for what happened next. They found that some bags of the liquid brine likely survived for a while after most of the melt water was frozen.

The team determined that such cavities could move sideways by melting some adjacent ice, creating a pressure build-up that eventually caused a plume to explode about 1 mile away.

“The work is exciting as it supports the growing body of research showing that there could be multiple plume species in the European satellite,” said Robert Pappalardo, a Europe Clipper project scientist from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California. same statement.

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