Geysers on Europa Found in 20 Year Old Space Probe Data

Yes, Europa really is sending plumes of water into space

Drawing on what scientists learned from exploring plumes on Saturn's moon Enceladus - that material in plumes becomes ionized and leaves a characteristic blip in the magnetic field - they knew what to look for.

In late 2013, tantalizing images from the Hubble Space Telescope revealed possible 125-mile-high plumes of water vapour erupting from a region in the moon's southern hemisphere.

A year or two ago, NASA astronomers were going over the data from the Hubble Space Telescope when they spotted what appeared to be plumes of water shooting from the moon's surface, according to a report from NASA. The orbiter had a close encounter with Europa in late 1997, and what at the time was thought to be a unusual anomaly in its data is now believed to be evidence that Galileo actually flew through one of Europa's water plumes.

The newest proof was discovered among data collected by the Galileo mission in 1997 during a Europa flyby.

This statement was made by Xianzhe Jia who is an associate professor in the Department of Climate and Space Sciences and Engineering which is located at the University of MI.

"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 MI. The existence of plumes on Europa provides evidence for the next component-electricity-in the shape of heat. Their size is likely limited by the moon's larger size and stronger gravity that plumes must fight. The particles that are spread by the plumes will be found in the atmosphere of Europa.

Prof. Margaret Kivelson of the University of California and leader of the "Galileo magnetometer team", said that the substance that is oozing out from the surface of Europa is perhaps electrically neutral and is influenced by moisture. This plume of water points toward an environment on the moon which would be habitable by human beings.

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Previous images showed what scientists think is Europa spewing water in 2012 and 2016. Two years later, researchers spotted another suspected plume in the same 200-mile-wide hot spot, reaching nearly 120 miles into space.

The findings are good news for the Europa Clipper mission, which may launch as early as June 2022. Material jetted from a plume and snowing back down onto the moon's surface would make landing sites in close proximity to the plume the most prized spots. The researchers layered the magnetometry and plasma wave signatures into new 3D modeling, which simulated the interactions of plasma with solar system bodies. However, those readings couldn't be validated without Galileo's information.

Looking at Europa's surface, you might not suspect that the planet could harbor life.

"This allows us to Examine the surface in very close detail also creates It simpler to study the air since there'll be more substance nearer to the surface", Turtle said. Or, maybe when the powerful James Webb Space Telescope finally launches (it has been pushed back several times), it will get a clearer picture of what is happening on the alien moon.

Jia and his colleagues pulled observations from the spacecraft's magnetometer, which measures magnetic fields, and from a second instrument that measures the density of charged particles.

"We know that Europa has a lot of the ingredients necessary for life, certainly for life as we know it". The mission, called the Europa Clipper, aims to closely observe Europa, a distant moon of Jupiter, and could answer lingering questions about whether life exists elsewhere in the solar system.

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