News at Europa

Hey, everyone! Earlier today, NASA held a teleconference where they discussed some news from Jupiter’s moon, Europa.

Europa is the sixth largest moon in the solar system, and the smallest of Jupiter’s four big moons. For years, it’s been thought there is a huge ocean of liquid water under a thick sheet of ice at its surface. On Earth, where there’s water, there’s life, so Europa has quickly become an exciting and interesting place for us to look for life, not at a planet orbiting a far-off star, but right here in our neighborhood. Who knows what’s under that ice?

NASA’s announcement today started off by saying there’s no news about life at Europa. Instead, they talked about pictures from the Hubble Space Telescope that appear to show plumes of water shooting from Europa’s surface, which were taken while a team of astronomers were trying to figure out of Europa has an atmosphere.

This is pretty exciting news. If it actually is water, it means a mission to study Europa’s ocean will much easier because they can just study the water in the plumes. They wouldn’t have build a probe to drill through miles of ice. In fact, who knows? They might not even need to land on Europa at all. Last year, NASA’s Cassini probe flew through water plumes at Saturn’s moon Enceladus. Maybe they can do the same thing at Europa. They don’t know for sure yet, but maybe this is something they can look at more. Imagine what they could find. It could be organic compounds, something that would suggest life, or even actual life. Probably not, though, but who knows? Imagine.

However you look at it, this is pretty exciting. These discoveries just keep coming. It’s amazing to me when they make these sorts of announcements. I love the news, and I love these tiny steps we make. Every little bit helps. Little by little, we’re moving along. Hopefully, there’ll be more soon. I can’t wait for us to get out there and explore more. However soon it’ll be it never seems soon enough. The solar system is calling us.

Here’s more about today’s announcement from NASA.

 

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