Alien Life Potential: NASA Confirms persistent water on Jupiter's Moon, Europa
This incredible breakthrough discovery has been made using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, using images and data that were taken by the space probe from 1999 to 2015.
A researcher from the ESA (European Space Agency) has found water vapour covering a large part of the moon's trailing hemisphere.
The presence of water on Europe has been known about since 2013, however, this new discovery shows that is it far more persistent than researchers first thought.
Lorenz Roth, the sole author of the study from KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Space and Plasma Physics, said: "The observation of water vapour on Ganymede, and on the trailing side of Europa, advances our understanding of the atmospheres of icy moons.
"However, the detection of a stable water abundance on Europa is a bit more surprising than on Ganymede because Europa's surface temperatures are lower than Ganymede's."
Strangely, the observation has only been on one hemisphere.
The water vapour is on the trailing hemisphere, the portion of the moon that is always opposite its direction of motion on its orbit.
Europa is the smallest of the four Galilean moons orbiting Jupiter, and the sixth-closest to the planet of the 79 that have been identified by NASA.
Slightly smaller than Earth's Moon, Europa is primarily made of silicate rock, has a water-ice crust and what researchers think is an iron-nickel core.
It has a very thin atmosphere, composed primarily of oxygen and its smooth surface has led scientists to hypothesise that a water ocean exists beneath the surface.
To make the new discovery, Mr Roth delved into archival Hubble datasets, selecting ultraviolet observations of Europa from 1999, 2012, 2014 and 2015 while the moon was at various orbital positions.
Could Europe be hiding alien life that we never knew about? We will keep you updated as we find out more on this story, now you have read this one, make sure you check out about NASAs plans to crash a spacecraft into an asteroid. If you are really into the potential of alien life then make sure you watch the full interview on Area 51 by Bob Lazar.
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