Astronomy and Astrophysics

Geysers of water vapor shooting from Europa could offer taste of ocean within

Geysers of water vapor shooting from Europa could offer taste of ocean within

NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has found signs of water vapor spewing out of the surface of Jupiter’s icy moon Europa. The water appears to shoot about 125 miles high and may come from the global ocean thought to lie beneath its frozen shell.

The discovery, set to be published in the Astrophysical Journal, whets the appetite of scientists who want to investigate whether this distant world could potentially harbor life.

“If there are plumes emerging from Europa, they’re significant because it means we may be able to explore [its ocean] for organic chemicals or even signs of life, without having to drill through unknown miles of ice,” team leader...

72°