In our solar system, where there is a possibility of life outside the Earth, Jupiter’s moon Europa is prominent. Scientists expect life to exist in the oceans of liquid water present under the surface of this icy body. Due to many such unique features, Europa remains the center of attraction for astronomers and scientists. Recently, data from NASA’s Hubble Telescope has revealed that water vapor is present in the atmosphere of the Europa satellite. But even more surprising is that such signals are being found in the same hemisphere of Europa.
Study for future campaign preparation
Scientists have been studying its atmospheric composition ever since discovering an ocean beneath Europa’s icy surface. Along with this, they are also preparing the ground for future missions that will try to find out about this natural satellite of Jupiter, whether there may be an atmosphere suitable for life here 500 million miles away from the Sun.
Photo of 2013
The observations so far related to Europa are related to the picture taken by the Hubble Telescope in 2013 in which smoke is seen coming out of the ice of this satellite. It was considered like a geyser formed on Earth. But in Europa, these fumes were up to 60 miles in height. Because of these, water vapor balloons have been seen there, while the atmospheric pressure there is one billion times less than Earth.
But new results have shown similar water vapor spreading over large areas of Europe. These results have been drawn based on observations of the Hubble Telescope from 1999 to 2015. These have shown that water vapor has been around for a long time. But only in one hemisphere, always on the opposite side of Europa’s orbit.
Steam discovery with new technology
So far, scientists in Europe have not understood the mystery of this back and forth hemisphere. This new information has been obtained from Hubble’s old photographs and by collecting the spectrum. For this, scientists have used a recently made new technique, by which researcher Lorenz Roth of Sweden’s KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Space and Plasma Physics has discovered betel vapor in the atmosphere of Ganymede, the second moon of Jupiter.
Surprised it didn’t happen on Ganymede
Roth says that observing the steam on the backside of Ganymede and Europa will increase our knowledge of the icy moon’s atmosphere. But the finding of permanently abundant water beneath the surface in Europa compared to Ganymede is surprising because the surface temperature of it is much lower than that of Ganymede.
Ganymede and Europa
Europa reflects more sunlight than Ganymede. Due to this, the surface of Europa is 60 °F colder than that of Ganymede. Even during the daytime, the surface temperature of Europa remains at 260 degrees Fahrenheit. But even after such low temperatures, new observations show that ice turns directly into vapor, as it does on Ganymede.
This discovery will benefit future Europa missions, with further studies being done for Europa. This includes NASA’s Europa Clipper and the European Space Agency’s Jupiter IC Moon Explorer (JUICE) missions. With the information about the formation of Jupiter and its moons, scientists will be able to get information about the formation of planets like Jupiter near other stars. These results have been published in Geophysical Research Letters.