Jupiter has 3 moons with oceans under their icy shells, called Ganymede, Callisto and Europa, Earth’s people have long been interested in these moons and providing life on them.
NASA has sent space probes since 1977. Jupiter is a gas planet, meaning it has no surface, but rather a swirl of gases with a sea of burning hydrogen at its core similar to our Sun. In this aspect, but unlike the Sun, hydrogen atoms do not fuse into helium to generate energy and heat.
Now, during the first NASA probes, they noticed long streaks and dark spots on Europa. Normally, moons have colorful surfaces, but these scientists thought there might be an ocean beneath Europa’s icy outer surface.
This theory was confirmed in 1996 when the Galileo spacecraft reached Europa, the first ocean discovered on another planet.
Then, in 2012 and 2016, the Hubble Space Telescope showed water rising from the warmer parts of Europa.
Little is known about these plumes, but if Europa contains water and elements like carbon and hydrogen, it means that microbial life was or still is.
With this opportunity in mind, the European Space Agency and NASA are sending probes deep into our solar system to specifically study Jupiter’s icy moons.
The first of these is the European Space Agency’s Jupiter IC Moon Finder, or JOS. Jose will travel to the Jupiter system equipped with the latest technology to capture images, monitor Jupiter’s magnetic field and study what lies beneath the icy crusts of Jupiter’s large moons.
NASA sent the Europa Clipper to fly over Europa’s moon more than 40 times to collect material from its atmosphere for the first time. This will give scientists a better idea of whether Europa’s oceans could support life.
The missions will collect data and they will also collect basic data about our universe, is there life outside of Earth? What would it look like? What does this mean for the future of humanity?
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