New research suggests that the jets of water erupting on Jupiter’s Moon Europa may have come from its icy crust instead of its oceans.
This conclusion was drawn by the NASA team after studying data from the Galileo spacecraft. Galileo ended its historic exploration mission to Jupiter in 2003.
“Understanding where these water jets come from is crucial to whether future Europa explorers might have a chance to seek life from space without Europa’s ocean exploration” Researcher Gregor Steinbrügge of the Stanford University said.
Instead of a thin crust, the ice forms a layer 19 to 25 km thick on the surface of the Europa satellite. This crust covers an ocean of salt water.
Although scientists believe that contemporary part of Europe is relatively hot and liquid, they only know that it can form after minerals are broken down by tidal forces or by radioactive decomposition.
A model created by researchers using data from Galileo in a 29 km-wide crater area on Europa called Manannán shows that water on Europa turns to ice at a later stage of impact, creating “pockets of ice.” ‘water”. “Salt or salt water in the crust.
“The model shows that when a bag of salt water moves towards the center of the Manannán crater, it gets stuck and begins to freeze, creating the final pressure leading to a beam, estimated to be almost 2m higher.” NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory said in the same release.
Although the beams generated by the moving bags of salt water do not provide Europa’s ocean view, the team’s new findings are hinting at, said Joana Voigt, co-author of the study. Europe’s ice crust is very “dynamic”.
In August 2019, NASA announced the launch of the Europa Clipper mission of Jupiter’s Europa Clipper deep exploration.
NASA’s Clipper Europa mission will conduct research to see if these freezing conditions on the Moon are suitable for life.
NASA is working to complete the Europa Clipper spacecraft to be ready for launch into space in early 2023.