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Thursday, December 19, 2013

Giant Water bursts of Europa, as a sign of life?

Hubble Space Telescope perpetuate extraordinary apparition in the sky: satellites of Jupiter, Europa allegedly spitting water vapor. The sixth satellite of the largest icy planet in the Solar System is considered as one of the best places to find alien life beyond Earth.

NASA's Hubble Space Telescope
 (Picture from: http://imagine-hawaii.com/)
Image from the Hubble Telescope shows, surplus hydrogen and oxygen in the southern of Europa hemisphere. If confirmed true it is a blast of water vapor, hence, it heightens the expectation that an underground ocean of Europa accessible surface. In the future, a mission can be done to show whether there is life there.

Head of NASA planetary scientist, Dr. James Green said, the presence of water makes the experts speculate could be sustain life in Europa. "The burst was very interesting if it is true its existence - helped carry the material from the ocean. Perhaps, there are organic molecules on the surface of Europa," he said, as quoted by the BBC, on Friday, November 13, 2013.

The findings were reported at a meeting of the world's geologists, the American Geophysical Union (AGU) Fall Meeting in San Francisco, California, United States. Scientists discover giant fountain in the photographs taken by Hubble in November and December 2012. Also in the older pictures were taken in 1999.
This is an artist’s concept of a plume of water vapor thought to be ejected off the frigid, icy surface of the Jovian moon Europa, located about 500 million miles (800 million kilometers) from the sun. (Picture from: http://www.clarksvilleonline.com/)
The experts also found the water that split into hydrogen and oxygen in the south polar region of Europa. "The burst was consistent in the form of a 200-kilometer column of steam," said the study author in the Science journal, Lorenz Roth from Southwest Research Institute, San Antonio, Texas. More than 20 times the height of Mount Everest - the world's highest mountain peaks towering as high as 8,848 meters.
Water spouts taller than Mt Everest appear to burst out of Europa when it is farthest from Jupiter. (Picture from: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/)
Every second, about 7 tons of material removed from the surface of Europa. "The numbers are quite remarkable," said Dr. Kurt Retherford, who is also from the Southwest Research Institute. "It was moving at a speed of 700 meters per second ... all the gas out and almost entirely back to the surface. Was not until escapes into space. "

Bursts are only temporary, once appeared only about 7 hours. The climax occurs when Europa was the greatest distance to Jupiter. And vanished while in close range. This means that the tidal acceleration can trigger bursts of water - with open cracks in the surface of the ice. That's the scientists concluded.

Signatures of water (blue) detected by  
Hubble are overlayed on an image of
Europa(Picture from: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/)
However, the team of experts are not sure whether a crack or cracks the reason water vapor under a layer of ice on the surface spurts or whether there are other mechanisms. The researchers also wanted to investigate whether the plume of water the Europa was similar to that existing in Saturn's satellite, Enceladus - where high pressure steam emissions out of the narrow gaps in the surface.

"We have a lot of questions about its mechanism of action," said Dr. Retherford. "What is the thickness of the ice sheet? So I there is a lake or pond underneath? Does it cracks so deep to reach water deposits beneath the surface. We do not know about that." The scientists said, it is time for exploration of Europa is a priority.

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has made ​​a preliminary planning Europa Clipper mission. However, limited funds make it possible in the near future. "Europa Clipper mission is very expensive because it must be designed for a long time, a year or several years, in a very harsh radioactive environment," said Dr. Green. Especially for designing a tool or a satellite to be sent into near Europa. Possibility may be realized in the coming decades.

The only chance to learn the Europa bursts is now resting on Juice, a mission to be performed by the European Space Agency (European Space Agency / ESA). ESA satellites have two chances to fly in close to Europa in the 2030s If lucky, it can get close enough to observe eruption. *** [EKA | FROM VARIOUS SOURCES | BBC]
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