NASA’s Picture of the Day Shows the Europa Moon of Jupiter

NASA’s Picture of the Day Shows the Europa Moon of Jupiter
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Sadly, the numerous moons of Jupiter have been a pretty intimidating area for astronomers compared to the Solar System’s planets. In other words, space agencies have focused more on planets rather than natural satellites.

There are numerous moons out there in the Solar System. Jupiter has dozens of such cosmic objects revolving around them – between 80 and 95, to be more precise. Europa is probably the most important of them all, considering that astronomers have a hunch that something could be alive there. 

NASA’s new Picture of the Day reveals the Europa moon as we’ve probably never seen it before:

 

One of the most captivating aspects of the Europa moon is its icy surface. The cosmic object is covered by a layer of ice that is estimated to be several kilometers thick, while it may be hiding a vast subsurface ocean beneath. This subsurface ocean, believed to contain more than twice the amount of water found on our planet, has sparked interest in the search for potential habitats for extraterrestrial life.

Candy Hansen, who is a co-investigator at Juno, stated during a press release held last year:

The science team will be comparing the full set of images obtained by Juno with images from previous missions, looking to see if Europa’s surface features have changed over the past two decades,

The JunoCam images will fill in the current geologic map, replacing existing low-resolution coverage of the area.

The possibility of liquid water, combined with the presence of essential chemical ingredients and energy sources from tidal heating caused by the huge gravitational pull of Jupiter, creates a tantalizing environment for the existence of microbial life.

Saturn, the other gas giant of our Solar System, has 124 moons. In other words, Jupiter doesn’t have the most moons in the Solar System despite being the biggest planet.

 


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Even since he was a child, Cristian was staring curiously at the stars, wondering about the Universe and our place in it. Today he's seeing his dream come true by writing about the latest news in astronomy. Cristian is also glad to be covering health and other science topics, having significant experience in writing about such fields.

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