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Hubble Finds Water Vapor in the Atmosphere of Jupiter's Moon Europa



The Hubble Space Telescope has revealed the presence of water vapor in the atmosphere of Jupiter's moon Europa, according to an astronomer.


It has long been hypothesized by astronomers that a vast ocean of liquid water exists beneath Europa's icy surface. Due to this, the planet Jupiter has 76 moons, with Europa being one of them. Europa is considered one of the most likely places in the solar system to find life other than on Earth.


A future study of Europa, the solar system's sixth-largest moon, which is larger than dwarf planet Pluto, and the Jovian system in general may be aided by this discovery, which may pave the way for future research (Jupiter, its rings, and moons). In order to determine whether life is possible half a billion miles away from the sun, these missions are being carried out.


Researchers at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden, discovered the water vapor on the Jovian moon's southern hemisphere, and only on the side of the moon that trails behind the gas giant during its orbit, according to Lorenz Roth, one of the researchers.


It has been observed for the first time by astronomers, despite the fact that scientists predicted it using computer simulations.


Roth is the author of a paper that details the observation, which was published in Geophysical Research Letters in 2012. The discovery follows the discovery of water vapor in the atmosphere of another of Jupiter's moons, Ganymede, just a few months earlier.


"The detection of water vapor on Ganymede and on Europa's trailing side advances our understanding of the atmospheres of icy moons," Roth said in a press release from the European Space Agency. "The detection of water vapor on Ganymede and on Europa's trailing side advances our understanding of the atmospheres of icy moons" (ESA). "Given Europa's extremely low surface temperatures, the discovery of a stable H2O abundance on the planet is surprising."


Roth used data from the Hubble Space Telescope from 1999 to 2012, 2014, and 2015 to make the discovery of water vapor in the atmosphere. The Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph (STIS) was used to collect data for the observations (STIS).


STIS enables astronomers to determine the chemical elements that make up the atmosphere of a planet or moon using a variety of techniques and instruments. The Hubble Space Telescope was also used to detect the presence of oxygen in Europa's atmosphere.


It has previously been discovered that water vapor exists in Europa's atmosphere, but it was only found to be associated with plumes that violently erupt from the Jovian moon's icy shell. Water vapor is propelled into Europa's atmosphere to a height of 62 miles as a result of this.


The water vapor was dubbed "transient" by the researchers because it only lasted for a brief period of time and was only found in specific areas around Europa, according to the findings.


According to recent findings, Europa's trailing atmosphere contains persistent amounts of water vapor at all times, implying that it is always present. Furthermore, it is found over a much larger geographic area than had previously been observed.


The Jupiter ICy Moons Explorer (JUICE) mission of the European Space Agency (ESA) will pay a visit to Europa and Jupiter's other icy moons in the near future. JUICE is scheduled to launch in 2022 and dock with Jupiter in 2031, according to current plans.


After leaving Mars and the inner planets, the probe will be outfitted with the most cutting-edge sensing technology ever sent beyond those planets. NASA's Europa Clipper will pay a visit to Europa in conjunction with JUICE, with the specific goal of searching for signs of life on the moon.


"This finding lays the groundwork for future research on the Jovian moons," Roth said in his conclusion. According to the researchers, "the more we learn about these icy moons prior to the arrival of spacecraft such as JUICE and Europa Clipper, the more efficiently we can make use of our limited observing time within the Jovian system."

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