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Topic: NASA’s Astrobiology Program

NASA reports ocean beneath Jupiter’s moon Europa may actually touch the icy surface

 

Written by Jia-Rui C. Cook
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – If you could lick the surface of Jupiter’s icy moon Europa, you would actually be sampling a bit of the ocean beneath.

A new paper by Mike Brown, an astronomer at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, CA, and Kevin Hand from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, also in Pasadena, details the strongest evidence yet that salty water from the vast liquid ocean beneath Europa’s frozen exterior actually makes its way to the surface.

Based on new evidence from Jupiter's moon Europa, astronomers hypothesize that chloride salts bubble up from the icy moon's global liquid ocean and reach the frozen surface where they are bombarded with sulfur from volcanoes on Jupiter's innermost large moon Io. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Based on new evidence from Jupiter’s moon Europa, astronomers hypothesize that chloride salts bubble up from the icy moon’s global liquid ocean and reach the frozen surface where they are bombarded with sulfur from volcanoes on Jupiter’s innermost large moon Io. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA Probe Data Show Evidence Of Liquid Water On Icy Europa

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – Data from a NASA planetary mission have provided scientists evidence of what appears to be a body of liquid water, equal in volume to the North American Great Lakes, beneath the icy surface of Jupiter’s moon, Europa.

The data suggest there is significant exchange between Europa’s icy shell and the ocean beneath. This information could bolster arguments that Europa’s global subsurface ocean represents a potential habitat for life elsewhere in our solar system. The findings are published in the scientific journal Nature.

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