That’s why Jupiter’s moon Europa spits water into space: BGR


  • Europa, a moon of Jupiter, is one of the few places in our solar system where we might be able to find life.
  • New research has focused on the plumes of water protruding from its surface and attempted to explain them.
  • One theory suggests that the plumes are water trapped in ice bubbles after asteroid or comet impacts.

Of all the worlds in our solar system, Jupiter’s icy moon Europa is one of the most interesting in terms of hunting for life. Researchers once thought it was just an icy ball of ice, but more recent observations and missions to its host planet Jupiter have revealed that the moon has liquid water reserves, and it is possible that that water provides everything that life needs. it needs to exist on the distant moon.

Our first clues to the existence of water inside the frozen moon came in the form of cones of ice particles found near large cracks in its surface. This indicates that liquid water is spewing into space and that something inside the moon is keeping the water warm. Now, the researchers have proposed an explanation for why this water is thrown into space so regularly.

The most obvious explanation is that Europa has a huge underground ocean hidden under a thick outer layer of ice. If that ocean’s water is thrown into space and if life exists in the ocean below, researchers can’t wait to know if a mission sampling the ejected water could reveal the presence of life.

“Understanding where these water plumes come from is very important to know if future explorers of Europe could have the ability to actually detect life from space without probing the ocean of Europa,” Gregor Steinbrügge said in a statement. lead author of the research. The study was published in Geophysical Research Letters.

Researchers suggest that while Europa may actually host a life-sustaining ocean beneath its surface, some or perhaps all of the water leaking from its surface could be the result of ancient impacts from smaller bodies. The idea is that a hit from an asteroid or comet could temporarily melt ice in a localized area. That water would freeze, creating a water bubble under the ice that, over the course of millions of years, will eventually begin to cool, causing a crack and exploding in a jet of water fired into space.

“The comet or asteroid that hit the ice shell was basically a big experiment that we’re using to build hypotheses to test,” Don Blankenship, co-author of the research, said in a statement. “The UTIG polar and planetary science team is currently evaluating the ability of this tool to test these hypotheses.”

Mike Wehner has been reporting on technology and video games for the past decade, covering the latest news and trends in VR, wearables, smartphones, and the technology of the future. Most recently, Mike worked as a Tech Editor at The Daily Dot and appeared on USA Today,, and countless other websites and print media. His love of reportage is second only to his addiction to games.


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