Latest finding put forth by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has confirmed that Europa, Jupiter’s moon, is ejecting water vapour. Its surface consists of water ice and has one of the finest gradients in the Solar System. This has led to a conceivable notion that there might exist water ocean underneath.
As per the space scientists, this sign might give rise to a possibility of habitability.
The discovery that water vapour is ejected near the south pole strengthens Europa’s position as the top candidate for potential habitability. However, we do not know yet if these plumes are connected to subsurface liquid water or not.
This is not the first such discovery in 2005 a similar finding was surfaced on Saturnian moon Enceladus by NASA’s Cassini orbiter, where along with the vapours, ice and dust particles too were discovered.
Another difference that the researchers observed is the spewing intensity of the active geyser on Europa. When the orbital position is farther from the planet, the ejection is limited than when the moon is closer. Scientists have reasoned this consequence as a result of push and pull of the gravitational tidal forces that is exerting on the moon.
If the findings get confirmed, Europa would become the second moon in the solar system exhibiting water. This subsurface ocean might also suggest life or existence of some extra-terrestrial beings, or habitable environment a probability, which the scientists are looking for since ages.