Jupiter is not only the biggest planet in our Solar System. It’s also the planet that hosts a lot of moons. Astronomers discovered 79 of these natural satellites, but there could be even more.
Ganymede is one of Jupiter’s moons. Some scientists hoping to find alien life forms in our solar system are still relying on Ganymede. It seems like the more time passes, the closer astronomers get to such a goal.
Ganymede has water vapor in the atmosphere
Ganymede is a world of ice and temperatures that fall way below zero. SciTechDaily reveals that for the first time, astronomers have discovered that charged particles emitted by the Sun are capable of turning the extremely hard ice into water vapour.
Lorenz Roth of the KTH Royal Institute of Technology from Stockholm, Sweden, declared as cited by SciTechDaily:
So far only the molecular oxygen had been observed,
This is produced when charged particles erode the ice surface. The water vapor that we measured now originates from ice sublimation caused by the thermal escape of water vapor from warm icy regions.
The water vapor from the atmosphere of Ganymede forms when the ice from the surface turns from solid to gas.
The discovery was made after using new and archival info from the Hubble Space Telescope of NASA.
Exploring Jupiter will likely reveal a lot of exciting facts about our Solar System. The gas giant is almost certainly lifeless. Even so, astronomers remain curious about it and its evolution.
Ganymede is even bigger than Mercury, the first planet from the Sun. A lot more will be uncovered about Ganymede in the future, and we can’t wait to witness it.
The discovery was published in Nature Astronomy.