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Europe's atmosphere has been harboring water vapor for years, but strange enough only in hemisphere

Europe’s atmosphere has been harboring water vapor for years, but strange enough only in hemisphere

It’s an important insight into the missions planned to the icy moon, which will investigate whether a world hundreds of millions of kilometers from the sun could harbor life.

A few years ago, researchers came up with definitive proof: Jupiter’s moon Europa sprays like a leaky garden hose water vapor in space. The water makes its way from the subsurface ocean, where it is blown away through cracks in the ice sheet. Now come the researchers New study to a sudden discovery. Because although water vapor appears to be widespread in Europe, it is strange that it only occurs in hemisphere.

More about Mon Europe

Brutal Jupiter has dozens of moons, but Europa is undoubtedly the most remarkable example. Many researchers see the moon as the place in our solar system to search for extraterrestrial life. If you take a quick look at the moon, you might be surprised at first sight. You wouldn’t think that life hundreds of millions of kilometers from the sun would be possible. In addition, Europe is covered with a thick layer of ice; Water ice is as hard as rocks. Thus, the planet does not appear to be habitable. But there is strong evidence that beneath this ice sheet is a global ocean filled with liquid water in which life may have originated and flourished.

Previous observations of water vapor on Europa have been linked to plumes erupting through the ice, as imaged by the Hubble Space Telescope in 2013. These plumes can best be compared to hot springs on Earth, although the plumes on Europa extend nearly 100 kilometers above it. Surface. They inject temporary “drops” of water vapor into the lunar atmosphere, the pressure of which is 100 billion times less than that of Earth’s air.

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In a new study, researchers looked at Hubble observations collected between 1999 and 2015. Thanks to observations in the ultraviolet, the team discovered an abundance of oxygen – a component of water – in Europe’s atmosphere. By studying the emission strength at different wavelengths, the researchers were able to infer the presence of water vapor.

The team makes an amazing discovery. Because Europe’s atmosphere has been harboring water vapor for years; Much more than expected. Unlike geysers, this water vapor does not come from the interior of Europe, but sunlight causes surface ice to sublimate (that is, transform directly from solid to vapor without a liquid phase).

Oddly enough, this water vapor is limited to only one hemisphere. The results show that water vapor can only be found on one side of the Moon. The part of the moon that is always opposite to the direction of its motion. why? no one knows.

icy moons
Despite the questions associated with the discovery, researcher Lorenz Roth sees the results as rosy. “Observing water vapor in one hemisphere in Europe advances our understanding of the atmospheres of icy moons,” he says. In addition, recently there has also been Detection of water vapor in the atmosphere of the nearby moon Ganymede. Although the discovery in Europe is somewhat more surprising than in Ganymede, according to Roth, Europe’s surface temperatures are much lower.

The new discovery will help shape the planned missions to Jupiter’s moon, which is very interesting. Because Europe is a promising place for life, the US space agency is sending a real spacecraft. the task that Europa clipper Hot, it will make dozens of flights across the icy moon to learn more about the ocean under the thick ice crust. The European Space Agency will also subject Europa to close scrutiny with the Jupiter Ice Moons Explorer spacecraft. Hopefully, then it will become clear whether this wonderful world, located at a great distance from the sun, somehow harbors life. Additionally, understanding the formation and evolution of Jupiter and its moons will also help astronomers gain insight into Jupiter-like planets orbiting other distant stars.

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