Scientists looked back in time to offer new evidence suggesting that plumes of water vapour shoot out into space from Jupiter’s moon Europa.
In the study, researchers used Galileo spacecraft for observation to simulate the movement of positively charged subatomic particles called protons near the moon. Galileo found fewer protons around Europa, while it was flying by the icy world of Europa in 2000.
Now according to the new research, Huybrighs’ team found that some of these “missing protons” which were not found before as a water plume shooting out from the moon blocked them from the instrument. Galileo used different instruments to conduct magnetic field studies of the moon, and then researchers were able to show a disruption in nearby magnetic fields when the plume shot out to support the theory.
Europa, one of Jupiter’s 79 known moons, was discovered in 1610 by astronomers Galileo Galilei and Simon Marius along with the rest of the planet’s four relatively large “Galilean moons.” Before in 2016, using observations from the Hubble Space Telescope, they’d long suspected, water vapour plumes shoot out from Europa, stemming from the moon’s hypothesized subsurface ocean. Now, in a new study, scientists led by European Space Agency research fellow Hans Huybrighs used 20-year-old data from NASA’s Galileo mission to provide even more evidence for these plumes.
ESA aims to probe to Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer with its highly-anticipated mission. The mission will be launch in 2022 and will start to explore Jupiter and its many moons and capable of taking and studying samples from the plumes shooting out from Europa.