The proofs of the existence of water plumes on Europa, which are emerging from the surface of the moon, have been gathering for a number of years. Now, new studies based on data compiled on site by the Galileo probe provide the best proof that the water plumes are a property of the icy moon of Jupiter.
Europa is among the most enticing destinations of the Solar System to pursue the presence of life beyond the Earth. The geological, compositional and induced magnetic field measurements of Europa show that a salty ocean full of water in its liquid form, situated at about 100 kilometers below the icy surface, is now sprinkling under the moon’s frozen crust.
Besides, the recent research shows that Europa has never seized to be active, geologically speaking, at least.
Checking for the presence of the water plumes on Europa, the Jupiter’s icy moon, is, thus, of utmost significance and is getting closer to being a real thing because a US science team managed to rebuild a 3D model of one of the plumes, basing themselves on the data collected by Galileo probe.
Scientists unveiled water plumes on Europa, after studying a thermal abnormality read by Galileo probe years ago
“A signature located in the MAG data acquired at Galileo’s closest encounter with Europe is totally consistent with the expected disturbances if the spacecraft were to pass through a plume that rises above the nearby surface”, states the science team’s members in the study’s report.
The researchers also reproduced the Galileo probe’s trajectory around Europa to depict the water plume of Europa which corresponded with the before-determined thermal abnormality.
Even though the latest findings of water plumes on Europa are not at all unassailable, the researchers are optimistic that their model will help the upcoming missions to Europa, namely, the ESA’s JUICE mission and the NASA’s Europa Clipper, both of which are created to determine, once and for all, if the icy moon of Jupiter has the right conditions to house life.