Tuesday, September 27, 2016

NASA has found geysers on Europa, Jupiter’s moon – RIA Novosti


(updated: )


MOSCOW, Sep 26 – RIA Novosti. Orbital Observatory “Hubble” received unique photos of how the surface of Europa, satellites of Jupiter, arise, and geysers erupt, scientists said at a press conference in the headquarters of NASA.

“We found new evidence that in Europe there are the geysers, the emissions of which fall into the space. Our new and previous observational evidence indicates that under the surface of this satellite of Jupiter there is the ocean of salt water ice, hidden from us under several kilometers of ice. The discovery of geysers suggests that we can explore its content by observing their emissions and try to understand whether there is life in them,” said William sparks (William Sparks) from the Institute for space telescope in Baltimore (USA).

As later noted in NASA, answering questions of the correspondent of RIA “Novosti”, the Juno probe, despite the presence of powerful tools and capabilities to monitor these geysers will not hold them, as NASA is concerned that this automatic station can contaminate the emissions from geysers and create the false impression that they can be organic molecules, and potentially germs, which are actually in orbit of Jupiter from the Earth.

the World of ice and fire

In Europe, one of the four largest satellites of Jupiter, Galileo is still open, under thick layer of ice there is an ocean of liquid water. Scientists believe Europa’s ocean one of the most likely havens of extraterrestrial life. In recent years astronomers have found that the ocean exchanges gases and minerals with ice on the surface and also confirmed the presence in it of substances necessary for the existence of microbes.

As told by sparks, the first possible traces of the existence of geysers on Europa, was found back in 2012, when the American astronomer ROS Lorenz (Lorenz Roth) have found that UV photographs of Europe, obtained with the help of Hubble, the traces of the unusual “bright spots” near the South pole of the planet. ROS and his team considered these spots are eruptions of geysers, rising to a height of 200 kilometers from the surface of Europe.

These observations attracted the attention of scientists from NASA, and they spent in 2014, several additional sessions of observations of Europe, watching over her in that moment, when the planet passed through the disk of Jupiter, against which the emissions of the geysers had to be particularly noticeable. Europe is one of the closest satellites to Jupiter, so it passes through the disk once every 3.5 days, which simplified observations.

In total, NASA has studied ten such passes in Europe. As noted sparks, “Hubble” failed to see these traces in the ultraviolet and optical flares, potentially associated with the eruptions of the geysers, in three similar pictures. As in the case of observations of Dew, most of the outbreaks they were concentrated at the South pole of the planet, but in one of the photos, scientists have noticed possible signs of the existence of geysers in the vicinity of the equator of Europe.

While scientists are not ready to say that they found the geysers, since, according to sparks, the monitoring data are within the permissions and capabilities of Hubble. The launch of its successor telescope, the James Webb, will help to put an end to this issue.

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