Hubble spots evidence of water plumes on Jupiters moon Europa 哈伯望遠鏡在木星衛星「木衛二」察知水蒸氣噴發證據






Astronomers said they have spotted evidence of water vapor plumes rising from Jupiter’s moon Europa, a finding that might make it easier to learn whether life exists in the warm, salty ocean hidden beneath its icy surface.




The apparent plumes detected by the Hubble Space Telescope shoot about 125 miles200 kmabove Europas surface before, presumably, raining material back down onto the moons surface, NASA said.




Europa, considered one of the most promising candidates for life in the solar system beyond Earth, boasts a global ocean with twice as much water as in all of Earth’s seas hidden under a layer of extremely cold and hard ice of unknown thickness.




While drilling through the ice to test ocean water for signs of life would be a daunting task, sampling water from the plumes might be a simpler project.




Scientists got their first hint that bright, icy Europa, which is crisscrossed by dark bands and ridges, contains an underground ocean from NASA’s twin Voyager probes, which flew by Jupiter in 1979.




The follow-on Galileo spacecraft, which circled around and through Jupiter’s system from 1995 to 2003, detected a magnetic field that likely was triggered by a salty, global ocean beneath Europa’s surface.



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