PARIS: Scientists presented further evidence on Monday for water plumes on the surface of Jupiter’s moon Europa, raising hopes of probing the jets for signs of life around the second planet from Earth.
Given the suspected abundance of warm, liquid water under its kilometres-thick ice shell, the moon is considered a “top candidate” by Nasa for life on a Solar System body other than Earth.
Twice before has Nasa reported evidence, from its Hubble Space Telescope, for the existence of water plumes on Europa, though this interpretation has caused much debate.
The new data, reported in the scientific journal Nature Astronomy, comes from measurements made from much closer up during a flyby of Nasa’s now-expired Galileo spacecraft.
“These findings will help plan future missions to Europa, such as Nasa’s Europa Clipper and ESA’s Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer spacecraft, both of which are expected to arrive at Jupiter between the late 2020s and early 2030s,” said a Nature summary.
Published in Dawn, May 15th, 2018