NASA Finds Evidence Of Water Plumes On Jupiter's Moon Europa

Jupiter's moon Europa harbors a saltwater ocean beneath an icy crust

Galileo recorded tons of data in the seven plus years it orbiting Jupiter.

For the new study, experts measured variations in the moon's magnetic field and plasma waves, based on data obtained during Galileo's close flyby, and found they were "consistent" with the spacecraft crossing a plume. Still, Xianzhe Jia, an associate professor at the University of MI, guessed that there may be clues lurking in the information that was beamed back.

But it wasn't until past year, at a conference for boffins planning the Europa Clipper spacecraft that's due to head out to the mysterious moon in 2022, that Xianzhe Jia, a space physicist at the University of MI put the pieces together and made a decision to revisit the Galileo data. Observations of plumes were made by Hubble in 2012 and 2016. Before heading to a meeting of scientists working on the Clipper mission, a thought occurred to Dr. McGrath: "Gee, I really should check to see if any of them line up with any of the claimed plume detections", from Hubble. We can go back and look at that old data set anew. The 1997 flyby was close to the site of the repeat detection by Hubble. Something was wrong: There was a three-minute "bend" where there shouldn't be.

"The data were there, but we needed sophisticated modeling to make sense of the observation", Jia explained in the NASA news release. Galileo actually did a flyby of that location, and it was the closest one we ever had. By and large, those model predictions matched their observations, ruling out Jupiter as the source and strengthening the case for watery plumes erupting from Europa's depths.

"The idea that Europa might possess plumes seems to be becoming more and more real, and that's very good news for future exploration", said Xianzhe Jia, a space physicist at the University of MI and the lead author of the new paper on the phenomenon. "It's fantastic how hard it is to anticipate something that just hasn't happened before", she said.

How could Europa host life? There's water. There's energy. For example, NASA's Cassini spacecraft sampled plumes from Saturn's ocean-bearing moon Enceladus that contained hydrogen from hydrothermal vents, an environment that may have given rise to life on Earth.

Microsoft Store Expands Gifting to All Xbox One, PC Games
Furthermore, you can see that the rumored new Xbox One controller bears a USB port and 3.5mm jack on its left side. A recent image of what seems to be a new Microsoft Xbox controller for accessibility was tweeted ahead of reveal.

Long considered to be one of the most promising places to search for alien life in the solar system, Europa is known to have a global ocean containing vastly more water than all of Earth's combined. Scientists think this, and the heat provided by the constant gravitational kneading of Europa's core by Jupiter and its other moons, makes Europa a prime candidate for life, albeit on a microbial scale.

Galileo launched in 1989 to examine the fifth planet from the Sun. Data from NASA's Galileo orbiter launched a generation ago yields new evidence of plumes, eruptions of water vapor, from Jupiter's moon Europa. That's because heat from the interior of the moon is being forced upward in the plumes.

"If we find active plumes, then we can sail on through them and sniff and taste that stuff that's in the plume", Bob Pappalardo, a planetary scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory who wasn't a study author, said on NASA TV. Schmidt, an assistant professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology's School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, is also one of the architects of the project that became the Europa Clipper mission.

"I hate to tell you how old I'll be when the mission gets to Europa, but that's OK", she says.

The result that emerged, with a simulated plume, was a match to the magnetic field and plasma signatures the team pulled from the Galileo data. During this trip, the spacecraft swung by Europa 11 times, conducting radio experiments that hint of an atmosphere. Not only do the plumes suggest that subsurface ocean likely exists, but it also means the Clipper, and any future mission, can just fly through the spewing mist for a sample, instead of hacking through the icy crust. "That's what the mission is after". That's the big picture.

Related News:



Most liked

Why Gina Haspel shouldn't lead the Central Intelligence Agency
She had her testimony in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee last week, which was widely seen as a positive performance. Much as he did before Pompeo's eventual confirmation, Paul has been digging in ahead of the floor vote on Haspel.

'N Korea will never fully give up Nuke weapons'
Doing so would strike "a critical blow to the core foundation of the North Korean power structure", he said. He says a deal will need to include inspections to confirm Pyongyang is following through.

Ronda Rousey's next WWE match has finally been confirmed
Why would WWE not favor a slower build of Rousey's career that would have given her time to grow as a performer and a character? News. "She's one of a kind, so there definitely has to be an alternation to my regimen and I'm looking forward to it".

U.S. diplomat involved in deadly crash leaves Pakistan
The incident also created a diplomatic row between Pakistan and U.S. as both nations placed retaliatory restrictions on diplomats. The Islamabad High Court on Friday ordered the Interior Ministry to put the diplomat's name on its Exit Control List.

In Historic Move, US Opens Embassy in Jerusalem
Ambassador David Friedman told reporters on Friday: "There was no give and take with Israel with regard to this decision". On this important anniversary, it's fitting that the USA finally open an embassy in Israel's self-determined capital.

'Mother of Satan' explosives used in Surabaya church bombings
President Joko Widodo strongly condemned the terrorist attacks in East Java, saying they were "beyond humanity measures". There was no immediate claim of responsibility after the latest suicide bombing .

OPEC raises oil consumption forecast on higher economic growth prospects for 2018
On Monday, OPEC forecasted that United States oil production will account for most of the growth in the industry this year. Opec also revised its estimate of non-Opec supply growth in 2018, increasing it by 10,000 bpd to 1.72 million bpd.

Overwatch Anniversary 2018 event will be a blast from the past
Special loot boxes will also be making a appearance with Legendary Anniversary Loot Boxes guaranteeing players some rare content. In addition, deathmatch will include a new competitive mode that has placement matches, skill rating tiers, and leaderboards.

Malaysian PM Mahathir vows to review 'fake news' law
Mr Mahathir said he had replaced the country's attorney general, who had cleared Mr Najib of all wrongdoing in the scandal. He also said he was committed to "facilitating a smooth transfer of power".

Juve win seventh successive Serie A title
Despite the impressive result, Crotone slipped into the relegation zone, below Spal on their head-to-head record. Sampdoria president Massimo Ferrero went over to urge the fans to stop but was also insulted by the ultras.

Pakistan expresses grave concern over shifting of United States embassy to Jerusalem
Israel considers the entire city its capital, while the Palestinians see east Jerusalem as the capital of their future state. Hours earlier in Gaza , 40,000 Palestinians who showed up to the border to protest the opening of the embassy.

Football Field-sized Asteroid To Zip By Earth
Despite its big size it will not be visible to the naked eye but watching it from a telescope could help for some people.

Calif. Parents Charged After 10 Kids Removed From Home
Sharon Henry, chief deputy district attorney for Solano County, said she was "horrified" by the statements from the children. During the tour, the four-bedroom house in Fairfield appeared messy with scuffed walls and animal feces in the bathroom.

Gas prices in OH are on the rise
DeHaan told 24 Hour News 8 the price of crude oil, which is now above $70 a barrel, is the biggest factor in the gas price spike. The nation's most expensive gas, as is the usual, can be found in California, with an average price of $3.69 on Monday.

Madrid Open: Thiem ends Nadal's unbeaten run
Bertens had already stunned world No 2 Caroline Wozniacki and five-time grand slam champion Maria Sharapova earlier in the week. He also beat Thiem in the final here at Caja Magica a year ago, though that was a bit more hard at 7-6 (8), 6-4.