Europa has water plumes that might help in search for life
Yesterday, NASA announced the detection of liquid water in the atmosphere of Jupiter's moon, Europa. The icy planet has always been of intense interest to astronomers as it's one of the most likely places that could host some sort of life outside of our own atmosphere - thanks the the theorised presence of a huge ocean under the moon's ice sheet.
Cracks in the smooth exterior suggest fluidity under the surface and now NASA, with Hubble's help, have detected water massive plume of water rising 200 kilometers from the surface of the planet and flowing at a rate of around 3000kg of water per second. So - quite a lot then!
If there IS life in the massive sub-ice sheet ocean then there's every chance that evidence of it will be in this huge plume so it is now of huge importance to NASA to investigate. The good news is that both the ESA and NASA have probes en-route to Europa which may be able to have a closer look at the plume and it's hoped that NASA's future Clipper mission will eventually offer an even better view.
Earlier this week, NASA also revealed that clay-like minerals had been discovered on the surface of the planet although they postulate that these arrived via comets and asteroids striking the surface rather than via any organic process on the moon itself.