NASA Spots Water Plumes on Europa

IAS Prelims 2023

Astronomers have spotted evidence of water vapour plumes rising from Jupiter’s moon Europa.

The apparent plumes detected by the Hubble Space Telescope shoot about 125 miles (200 km) above Europa’s surface before, presumably, raining material back down onto the moon’s surface.

Europa, considered one of the most promising candidates for life in the solar system beyond Earth, boasts a global ocean with twice as much water as in all of Earth’s seas hidden under a layer of extremely cold and hard ice of unknown thickness.

Europa is about 1,900 miles (3,100 km) in diameter, slightly smaller than Earth’s moon. Among Jupiter’s four largest moons, Europa is the second closest to the biggest planet in the solar system.