Observations with the Hubble Space Telescope on Jupiter’s icy moon, Europa, have shown persistent water vapor. This is reported by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.
Pictures from the Hubble telescope of a joint project between NASA and the European Space Agency confirmed the presence of water vapor in Europa. It is the sixth most distant moon of Jupiter, which is also called Jupiter II. For several years, a group of scientists suggested that there is persistent water vapor in Europe, but this was only confirmed now. At the same time, steam jets appear only on one hemisphere of the moon.
Previous observations of evaporation in Europe have been associated with geysers that reach over 100 km in height. They create short-term clots of water vapor in the atmosphere of Europe. However, new results show that a huge amount of water vapor has spread over a larger area of the celestial body. This means that steam (and therefore water) is constantly present on one of the moon’s hemispheres.
Hubble’s observations provide more data on the atmospheric structures of icy moons and help lay the foundation for planned scientific missions to the Jupiter system. In particular, scientists will be able to find out if the environment, almost a billion kilometers from the Sun, can support life.