A review of data captured by NASA’s Galileo spacecraft as it orbited Jupiter in the 1990s indicates it likely flew through a plume of water vapor spewing from cracks in the surface of the moon Europa, providing independent evidence water is being released from a vast sub-surface ocean beneath its frozen crust, scientists said Monday.
The Hubble Space Telescope has again spotted what appear to be towering plumes of water vapor erupting from Jupiter’s moon Europa, hinting that future spacecraft may be able to sample the hidden sea, a possible abode of life, without having to drill through miles of rock-hard ice, researchers said Monday.
The visible camera on NASA’s Juno spacecraft is capturing a time-lapse movie of Jupiter and its four largest moons as the orbiter dives toward the giant planet for a July 4 rendezvous, and officials have released a first taste of the views armchair scientists and space enthusiasts can anticipate over the coming weeks and months.
Alvaro Giménez Cañete manages the European Space Agency’s science program, a portfolio with a budget of nearly $600 million this year, and he recently spoke with Spaceflight Now about Europe’s hopes to build a gravitational wave observatory, the ExoMars mission to Mars, and tagging along with NASA’s probe to Jupiter’s moon Europa.
The discovery of intermittent flows of liquid water on Mars, announced with great fanfare Monday, makes the red planet the leading candidate for the near-term discovery of extraterrestrial life in the form of fossilized microbes or even existing microorganisms, NASA’s chief scientist told lawmakers Tuesday.
Taking a major step toward an eventual robotic mission to Europa, a moon of Jupiter believed to harbor ice-locked lakes and a vast sub-surface ocean, NASA has selected nine sophisticated instruments for a solar-powered spacecraft designed to find out whether the hidden realm could support life of some sort, agency officials said Tuesday.