Astronomers suspected that Europa, the moon of Jupiter, may hold a salty ocean under its thick ice crust, which can sustain life. NASA has confirmed that it has detected the eruption of water from large geysers on the surface of the moon. The research team of Goddard Space Flight Center of NASA in Maryland published a study in Nature Astronomy journal on Monday. The team confirmed the presence of water vapor on Europa. Although many scientists previously discovered huge geysers bursting into space, but could not prove until now that it holds water. On Monday, NASA said that confirming the presence of water vapor above Europa will help scientists to understand the moon’s inner workings better. For instance, it will support the scientists’ idea and gain confidence regarding the presence of water ocean, probably twice as Earth, and moving with splashing sound under the thick ice crust.
Scientists used the largest telescopes of the world available at the W. M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii to measure the water vapor of the moon. The scientists studied the moon for 17 nights in between February 2016 to May 2017. They finally detected a specific infrared signal in mid-April 2016, which was only possible because of vapor eruption into space. They detected around 5,202 pounds of water vapor, which is enough to fill the swimming pool of Olympic-sized. According to Lucas Paganini, planetary scientist at NASA, necessary chemical elements and energy sources are found in the entire solar system, the most two requirements of life. However, the third (liquid water) requirement is very difficult to find. He added that although scientists have not yet detected liquid water directly. Instead, it is the best thing that we have found water in vapor form.
Lorenz Roth, an astronomer and physicist at KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, said that first-time water vapor on Europa had been identified directly. It confirms the original atomic species detections. It highlights the sparseness of the big plume in this icy world. Mr. Roth is the co-author of the latest research and has led the Hubble study in 2013. NASA has planned to launch the Europa Clippers mission in the mid-2020s. The launch will be to investigate the habitability of the moon. Researchers believe that Europa and Enceladus (Saturn’s moon) are best to find life in this solar system beyond the Earth. According to NASA, we are in the best position to explore the solar system to find the cusp of life outside the Earth.”