General, Research, Technology

The first observations of geological processes in Europe were recorded

The largest planet in the solar system - Jupiter- Known not only for its colossal size, but also for its four large satellites, each of which represents a truly unique place in our star system. A special place among the Galilean satellites of Jupiter is occupied by Europe - a small celestial body completely chained in ice. This ice world is considered one of the smoothest objects among all the planets and their satellites orbiting the Sun, which suggests the presence of a global ocean on the satellite, hiding from the radiation of Jupiter under a thick crust of ice. In this regard, scientists are increasingly hypothesizing whether life can occur at such a great distance from the sun. One of the latest discoveries on the satellite was the discovery of surface loops, which, apparently, throw water into space. What can this discovery mean for science and is it possible to find life in the water vapor of Europe?

Surface of Europe

Is there life in Europe?

Data collected during various spacemissions over the past few decades have shown that the scientific community is more and more encouraged by the possibility of finding alien life in Europe. So, the Galileo probe noticed the presence of an irregular magnetic field in the satellite in the late 90s and early 2000s, which can occur if there is a conducting fluid below the surface of the satellite. According to the portal, approximately 12 years after the discovery of evidence of the existence of a magnetic field in Europe, the Hubble Space Telescope detected the presence of water vapor above the South Pole of Europe, which, according to scientists, is the result of water eruptions carrying material from beneath the surface of the satellite into the space.

See also: Europe: our best chance to find another life?

A huge ocean lurks beneath the icy surface of Europe

One of NASA’s latest discoveries points tothe strong likelihood that Europe is really hiding a huge amount of water in its bowels. So, the observatory W.M. Keck in Hawaii used spectrograph data to analyze the chemical composition of Europe’s atmosphere, searching for some infrared frequencies that relate to certain types of molecules. Lucas Paganini, NASA's planetary scientist who led the study of water detection in Europe, discovered powerful periodic bursts of water from the surface of Jupiter's ice satellite, releasing about 2,360 liters every second - enough liquid to fill an Olympic-sized pool in a matter of minutes.

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While scientists firmly believe that in Europethere is a subsurface ocean, another possible source of water vapor may be shallow pools of melt water, located not so far below the surface of the satellite. In order to find out the true reasons for the appearance of water plumes over Europe, NASA announced the launch of an unmanned probe in the direction of Jupiter for 2025. The results of the space expedition may become historical for mankind, which, perhaps, will be able for the first time to find traces of living organisms outside the Earth.